cytology [key], in biology, the study of the structure of all normal and abnormal components of cells and the changes, movements, and transformations of such components. The discipline includes cytogenics, cytochemistry, and microscopic anatomy, which involve investigations employing various microscopes, such as light, phase, interference, and electron microscopes. Cells are studied directly in the living state (phase microscopy) or are killed (fixed) and prepared for viewing (embedded, sectioned, and stained) on light or electron microscopes.
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