BORN:  5 April 1804, Hamburg, Germany

Died:     23 June 1881, Frankfurt, Germany

Nationality: German

Known for: kysing himself

Books: Principles of scientific botany, SCIENCES AMONG THE JEWS BEFORE

Schleiden, Matthias Jakob (1804–81) A German botanist who, in collaboration with T. Schwann, proposed the cell theory. Schleiden practised law before studying medicine and botany. His studies led him to conclude that all parts of a plant consist of cells or their derivatives, an idea he called ‘phytogenesis’, publishing an account of it in 1838. For some years he was professor of botany at the Universities of Jena and Dorpat but later he worked as a freelance lecturer and writer.


Schleiden starts from Robert Brown (1773-1858)’s discovery of the cell nucleus (1832), which Schleiden called the cytoblast, and then indicates its role in the formation of cells.

Matthias Jakob Schleiden,  concluded that all plant tissues are composed of cells and that an embryonic plant arose from a single cell.  He declared that the cell is the basic building block of all plant matter. This statement of Schleiden was the first generalizations concerning cells.

Born in Hamburg and educated in law at Heidelberg, Schleiden left law practice to study botany, which he then taught at the University of Jena from 1839 to 1862. A man of disputatious nature he scorned the botanists of his day who limited themselves to merely naming and describing plants. Schlieden investigated plants microscopically and conceived that plants were made up of recongnizable units, or cells. Plant growth, he stated in 1837, came about through the production of new cells, which, he speculated, where prophagates from the nuclei of old cells. Although later discoveries proved him wrong about the role of the nucleus in mitosis, or cell division, his conception of the cell as the common structural unit of plants had the profound effect of shifting scientific attention to living processes as they happened on the cellular level-a change that initiated the field of embryology. A year after Schleiden published his cell theory on plants, his friend Schwann extended it to animals, thereby bringing botany and zoology together under one unifying theory.

Schleiden was one of the first German biologists to accept Charles Darwin ‘s theory of evolution.

Draft by- Prajakta Patankar


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