What are Organelles in a Cell? Origin and Types | Biology Quiz

Origin of word "organelle" 

The organelle word originated from the Latin word 'organum' meaning ‘instrument or tool’ and derived from the English word 'organ'. An organelle in a cell is similar to an organ in the body.

What are organelles in a cell?

Organelles are the subcellular structure that is responsible for performing one or more unique tasks in a cell. For example, chloroplast synthesis the food in a plant cell, ribosome produces proteins and nucleus stores genetic material.

what are organelles in a cell
A plant cell showing different organelles.

Explanation of organelles

Organelles are like small compartments, concerned with their function. The functions performed by each organelle are vital for the survival of the cell and in turn survival of life. We can also refer to them as vesicles or bags inside a cell, carrying specific tools or instruments to perform a specific task.

Types of organelles in a cell

There are two types of organelles.

  1. Membrane-bounded organelles
  2. Membrane-less organelles

1. Membrane-bounded organelles

The intercellular components of eukaryotic cells organize themselves in the form of organelles which are enclosed by a membrane, hence called membrane-bounded organelles. The examples of membrane-bounded organelles included the nucleus, chloroplast, ribosome, mitochondria, lysosomes, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi apparatus.

2. Membrane-less organelles

The organelles in eukaryotic cells do not have any membrane around them and are called membrane-less organelles such as nucleoli, P bodies, and Cajal bodies. They exist in the form of aggregates in the cytoplasm or nucleoplasm.


  • Gomes, E., & Shorter, J. (2019). The molecular language of membrane-less organelles. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 294(18), 7115-7127.
  • Gray, M. W. (1989). The evolutionary origins of organelles. Trends in Genetics, 5, 294-299.
  • Image created in Biorender.com

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