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(Science: Cell Biology)

In eukaryotic cells, the cytoplasm is that part of the cell between the cell membrane and the nuclear envelope. It is the jelly-like substance in a cell that contains the cytosol, organelles, and inclusions, but not including the nucleus. In fact, the cytoplasm and the nucleus make up the protoplasm of a eukaryotic cell.

In prokaryotic cells that do not have a well-defined nucleus, the cytoplasm is simply everything enclosed by the cell membrane. It therefore contains the cytosol, and all the other cellular components, including the chromosome in the nucleoid region.


The cytoplasm (of both eukaryotes and prokaryotes) is where the functions for cell expansion, growth, metabolism, and replication are carried out.

Word origin: Gk kyto-, comb. form of kýtos container, receptacle, body + Gk plásma.

Related forms: cytoplasmic (adjective).

Compare: protoplasm, cytosol.
See also: cell.

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