Hero’s Journey: The Life of a Cell


So in English class we’ve been learning much about what known as the Hero’s Journey.  It’s a simple formula that many stories have used throughout time to get us rooting for the protagonist, describing the story the transformation of an Average Joe, to a hero.  We’ve even seen Star Wars and related the Hero’s Journey to Luke.  This got me thinking; is there a Hero’s Journey in the world of science?

After some thought, I cam to realize we have little hero’s in our own bodies!  The cells that make us up go through their own journeys called the cell cycle.

Call to Action

Ok, lets say Darth Vader finds us in tight spot, trying to choke the life out of us.  Our lung cells need to replicate themselves.  A distress signal is sent across the body all the way from brain.  It’s up to the lung cell to replicate.  It’s our only hope.

Refusal to Call

The cell is hesitant to replicate, first it needs to check if it can replicate.  During interphase, the cell makes many inspections upon itself, to make sure it doesn’t have cancer. After passing the G1, G2, and M-Spindle checkpoint, the cell is now ready to replicate.


2011 Campbell Biology AP Edition

Cross The First Threshold

The cell now takes its first official step in the heroic cell cycle.  During prophase it begins to replicate its DNA and makes sister chormatid pairs.  Although the first step is taken, the cell still has a long way to go before it can help save our lungs from the Dark Lord.

Belly of the Whale and Trials

The cell is now past the point of no return, it cannot go back on its journey.  During metaphase the cell now lines up all its chromatid pairs in the center of the cell.  The next phase, anaphase, may be the most difficult trial yet.  The cell has to pull the chromatid pairs apart with enough force.  If the cell doesn’t learn to become strong fast enough, it won’t be able to pull the chormatid pairs apart.


The cell stares into the the face of death.  The centromeres tries its best to pull the chromatid apart, but it just can’t find enough strength.  It knows it could leave the human with a horrible mutation if it fails.  Finally the cell learns to use the power of the Force and pulls it apart.

Ultimate Price 

Our hero has to divide its resources in half; half of the cell’s DNA, cytoplasm, and organells, go to the other replicated one during Cyotokinesis.  This sacrifice is for the good of the human though.

Master of 2 Worlds

The cell literally just doubled, it is now the master of two cells.  Now the cell can help fight the evil forces of the Empire.



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