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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Organelle'

Organelle Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    organelle n : a specialized part of a cell; analogous to an organ; "the first organelle to be identified was the nucleus" [syn: cell organ}]
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Organelle'

In cell biology, an organelle (pronounced /ɔrɡəˈnɛl/) is a specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific function, and is usually separately enclosed within its own lipid bilayer.

The name organelle comes from the idea that these structures are to cells what an organ is to the body (hence the name organelle, the suffix -elle being a diminutive). Organelles are identified by microscopy, and can also be purified by cell fractionation. There are many types of organelles, particularly in eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotes were once thought not to have organelles, but some examples have now been identified.

In biology, organs are defined as confined functional units within an organism. The analogy of bodily organs to microscopic cellular substructures is obvious, as from even early works, authors of respective textbooks rarely elaborate on the distinction between the two.

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