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Specialized structure occurring in most cells (except bacteria) and separated from the rest of the cell by the nuclear membrane. This membrane seems to be continuous with the cell's endoplasmic reticulum and has pores that permits the passage of large molecules. The nucleus controls and regulates the cell's activities (e.g., growth and metabolism) and carries the genes. Nucleoli are small bodies often seen within the nucleus that play an important part in the synthesis of RNA and protein. A cell normally contains only one nucleus.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on nucleus, visit Britannica.com.