Cell versus protoplasm: revisionist history

Cell Biol Int. 2012 Jul;36(7):643-7. doi: 10.1042/CBI20120128.


Recent investigations give reason to question anew the historical status of the 'cell theory' as the ultimate driving force in the development of our understanding of life's processes at the most fundamental level. A revisitation of critical research papers and commentaries from the 19th Century shows that the disregarded (and historically maligned) 'protoplasmic theory of life' played a more deterministic role in the early advancement of knowledge on cell structure and function.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Biology / history*
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry*
  • History, 19th Century
  • Models, Molecular