Ultrastructure (or ultra-structure) is the detailed structure of a biological specimen, such as a cell, tissue, or organ, that can be observed by electron microscopy. It refers in general to the study of cellular structures that are too small to be seen with an optical microscope.

Ultrastructure, along with molecular phylogeny, has often been a reliable (that is phylogenetic) way of classifying organisms. [cite journal | url = http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1713255 | title = Evaluating Support for the Current Classification of Eukaryotic Diversity | author = Laura Wegener Parfrey, Erika Barbero, Elyse Lasser, Micah Dunthorn, Debashish Bhattacharya, David J Patterson, and Laura A Katz | doi = 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020220 | journal = PLoS Genet. | date = 2006 December | volume = 2 | issue = 12 | pages = e220 | pmid = 17194223 ]

Ultra-Structure is also the name given to a notational system for representing complex rules. [Long, J., and Denning, D., "Ultra-Structure: A design theory for complex systems and processes." In Communications of the ACM (January 1995)]


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  • ultrastructure — ● ultrastructure nom féminin Structure de cellules ou de tissus observés au microscope électronique. ultrastructure [yltʀastʀyktyʀ] n. f. ÉTYM. Mil. XXe; de ultra (microscopique), et structure. ❖ ♦ Biol. Structure cellula …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ultrastructure — [ul′trəstruk΄chər] n. the minute, elemental structure of protoplasm that can be seen only with an electron microscope ultrastructural adj …   English World dictionary

  • Ultrastructure — Un exemple d ultrastructure avec la bactérie catalase positive, Bacillus subtilis. L ultrastructure concerne un domaine de dimensions qui se situe entre le domaine atomique moléculaire et le domaine accessible au microscope optique. Le microscope …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ultrastructure — noun Date: 1939 biological structure and especially fine structure (as of a cell) not visible through an ordinary microscope • ultrastructural adjective • ultrastructurally adverb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ultrastructure — n. [L. ultra, beyond; struere, to construct] The fine structure of cells seen with an ultramicroscope or an electron microscope …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • ultrastructure — General term to describe the level of organization that is below the level of resolution of the light microscope. In practice, a shorthand term for ‘structure observed using the electron microscope’, although other techniques could give… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • ultrastructure — ultrastructural, adj. /ul treuh struk cheuhr/, n. Cell Biol. the structures of a cell that are revealed by electron microscopy. Also called fine structure. [1935 40; ULTRA + STRUCTURE] * * * …   Universalium

  • ultrastructure — noun The fine, detailed structure of a biological specimen that can only be observed by electron microscopy See Also: superstructure, hyperstructure, substructure, infrastructure …   Wiktionary

  • ultrastructure — Structures or particles seen with the electron microscope. SYN: fine structure. * * * ul·tra·struc·ture əl trə .strək chər n biological structure and esp. fine structure (as of a cell) not visible through a light microscope ul·tra·struc·tur·al… …   Medical dictionary

  • ultrastructure — n. elemental physicochemical structure of protoplasm …   English contemporary dictionary

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