Nucleolus Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Brain of the Brain
  • 0:52 Function of the Nucleolus
  • 1:40 Ribosomes: Jobs and Locations
  • 2:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: April DeBord

April has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language and she has her Ed. S. in Foreign Language Education.

Nucleolus sounds a lot like nucleus, but they are different parts of the cell. In this lesson, let's learn how to tell the difference and why the nucleolus is an important part of the cell.

Brain of the Brain

If you were looking at the nucleus of a cell under a microscope, you might notice one or two small, round shapes called the nucleolus or nucleoli. Nucleolus means 'little nucleus.' In a lot of ways, the nucleus is like the human brain, the most important part of you. The human brain is the organ that allows you to walk, talk, joke with your friends, and so much more by sending signals to different parts of your body.

The relationship between the nucleolus and the nucleus is similar to the one shared by the human brain and the body. The nucleolus tells the nucleus what to do. In turn, the nucleus tells the cell what to do. Cells contain many different parts, and they all play an important role to help the cell function properly.

Function of the Nucleolus

The main function of the nucleolus is to make the small parts or subunits, which make up the ribosomes, the construction workers of the cell. The nucleolus makes the subunits from ribosomal RNA and proteins. Ribosomal RNA is also called rRNA.

RNA is ribonucleic acid, and even though it is not quite as well known as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which holds the genetic information that allows your cells to build you, it is important. DNA is like a book that holds information, but RNA is like the person who reads the book and helps to carry out the instructions in the book.

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