Introduction to Tissues


`If you want to understand function, study structure.’– Francis Crick in his book “What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery” (1988).

The relationship between structure and function is important to understanding this tutorial and is important to the study of Life Sciences in general. This tutorial requires you to build on the concepts you understood in the section on cell structure.


Cross section of sclerenchyma fibers in plant ground tissue. Image credit: public domain

  • Tissues are a group of similar cells adapted for a particular function. These cells are adapted for such function through a process of cell differentiation.
  • The structure of cells allow them to collectively perform specific functions. Examples of these include xylem, phloem, parenchyma, collenchyma, sclerenchyma, epidermis and meristematic tissue.
  • There are essentially four types of animal tissues studied here: epithelial, connective, muscle and nerve tissue whose structure is neatly adapted to function.
  • Various plant tissues provide important ingredients for traditional medicine.
  • Biotechnology is a modern science that manipulates properties of tissues and cells to produce vaccines and antibiotics
  • One such manipulation in biotechnology is the use of genetic material to create a whole new organism, with the identical genetic make-up as its parent, using a process known as cloning.
  • The ethics and legislation around these new developments must be carefully understood

Previous biology tutorials have discussed the molecular and cellular levels of organisation of living organisms. In this tutorial we will examine how similar cells associate together to form tissues.


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This is a lesson from the tutorial, Plant and Animal Tissues and you are encouraged to log in or register, so that you can track your progress.

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