What everyday object is like a Centriole?

What everyday object is like a centriole?

The Centriole: A Cellular Structure

Before we look at everyday objects that resemble centrioles, let’s first understand what a centriole is. Centrioles are small, cylindrical structures found in animal cells. They play a crucial role in cell division and are involved in the formation of the spindle fibers that help separate chromosomes during mitosis and meiosis.

Centrioles are composed of microtubules, which are hollow tubes made of proteins called tubulins. They are usually found in pairs, perpendicular to each other, and are located near the nucleus in a region called the centrosome.

Top: A toy that resembles centrioles

A spinning top is an everyday object that shares some similarities with centrioles. Like centrioles, spinning tops have a cylindrical shape. They consist of a body and a pointed top that allows them to spin around a central axis.
When a spinning top is set in motion, it spins rapidly on its axis, creating a stable spinning motion. This spinning motion is similar to the rotation of centrioles during cell division. Both centrioles and spinning tops exhibit rotational symmetry and are able to maintain stability while in motion.

Gyroscope: An Engineering Marvel with Centriole-like Properties

A gyroscope is another everyday object that shares similarities with centrioles. A gyroscope is a device used to measure or maintain orientation and angular velocity. It consists of a spinning wheel or rotor mounted on a set of rings that allows it to rotate freely in any direction.

Similar to centrioles, gyroscopes rely on rotation to function. The spinning motion of the rotor in a gyroscope helps maintain its orientation in space and provides stability. This property is analogous to the role of centrioles in maintaining the orientation and stability of the mitotic spindle during cell division.

Tornado: A natural phenomenon similar to centrioles

While centrioles are cellular structures, the swirling motion of a tornado is similar to the rotational motion of centrioles. A tornado is a violent and destructive vortex of rapidly rotating air that is in contact with both the earth’s surface and a cumulonimbus cloud.

Similar to centrioles, tornadoes have a spiral shape and rotation. The spinning vortex of a tornado can be thought of as a macroscopic version of the microtubule-based structure of centrioles. The rotational motion of both tornadoes and centrioles allows for efficient movement and organization of particles, albeit on very different scales.

Egg Whisk: A culinary tool with a centriole-like structure

A whisk is a common kitchen utensil used for stirring and mixing ingredients. It typically consists of a handle with a series of looped wires or tines attached. The structure of a whisk bears some resemblance to the arrangement of microtubules in centrioles.
Centrioles have a cylindrical shape with microtubules arranged in a tubular pattern. Similarly, a whisk has a cylindrical handle with multiple thin wires extending from it in a radial pattern. This arrangement allows for efficient mixing and blending of ingredients by incorporating air and facilitating the dispersion of liquids, similar to how centrioles aid in the efficient organization and movement of cellular components.


While centrioles are unique cellular structures with specialized functions in cell division, it is fascinating to find everyday objects that bear some resemblance to their shape or rotational motion. Objects such as spinning tops, gyroscopes, tornadoes, and whisks share certain characteristics with centrioles, highlighting the ubiquity of certain structural and dynamic principles in our world.

Studying the similarities between centrioles and everyday objects can help us appreciate the intricate design and functional advantages of these cellular structures, while also providing interesting analogies to explain their properties to a wider audience.


What everyday object is like a Centriole?

A gear or cogwheel in a mechanical watch is similar to a centriole.

How is a gear in a mechanical watch similar to a centriole?

Both a gear and a centriole are cylindrical in shape and play a crucial role in the functioning of their respective systems. Just as a centriole helps organize microtubules during cell division, a gear in a mechanical watch is responsible for regulating the movement of the watch’s hands.

What other everyday objects share similarities with centrioles?

A spinning top and a gyroscope can be compared to centrioles due to their spinning motion and ability to maintain stability.

How are spinning tops and gyroscopes similar to centrioles?

Like centrioles, spinning tops and gyroscopes possess rotational symmetry and exhibit a spinning motion. They also share the characteristic of maintaining stability and balance while spinning.

Is there any similarity between a centriole and a tornado?

While there are some similarities in terms of their shape and rotational motion, a tornado is not an everyday object and is on a completely different scale compared to a centriole. Tornados are large-scale weather phenomena characterized by destructive winds, whereas centrioles are microscopic structures found within cells.