Cellular Basics

Cell Responses

Why do cells die?

Cells die for a variety of reasons, many of which are not deliberate. For example, cells can starve to death, asphyxiate, or die from trauma. Cells that sustain some sort of damage, such as DNA alteration or viral infection, frequently undergo a programmed cell death (see below). This process eliminates cells with a potentially lethal mutation or limits the spread of the virus. Programmed cell death can also be a normal part of embryonic development; for example, frogs undergo cell death that results in the elimination of tissues—allowing a tadpole to morph into an adult frog.


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