Eukaryotic Cell vs Prokaryotic Cell

Eukaryotic Cell
Prokaryotic Cell

The distinction between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is considered to be the most important distinction among groups of organisms. Eukaryotic cells contain membrane-bound organelles, such as the nucleus, while prokaryotic cells do not. Differences in cellular structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes include the presence of mitochondria and chloroplasts, the cell wall, and the structure of chromosomal DNA.

Prokaryotes were the only form of life on Earth for millions of years until more complicated eukaryotic cells came into being through the process of evolution.

Comparison chart

Eukaryotic Cell

Prokaryotic Cell

Nucleus Present Absent
Number of chromosomes More than one One--but not true chromosome: Plasmids
Cell Type Usually multicellular Usually unicellular (some cyanobacteria may be multicellular)
True Membrane bound Nucleus Present Absent
Example Animals and Plants Bacteria and Archaea
Genetic Recombination Meiosis and fusion of gametes Partial, undirectional transfers DNA
Lysosomes and peroxisomes Present Absent
Microtubules Present Absent or rare
Endoplasmic reticulum Present Absent
Mitochondria Present Absent
Cytoskeleton Present May be absent
DNA wrapping on proteins. Eukaryotes wrap their DNA around proteins called histones. Multiple proteins act together to fold and condense prokaryotic DNA. Folded DNA is then organized into a variety of conformations that are supercoiled and wound around tetramers of the HU protein.
Ribosomes larger smaller
Vesicles Present Present
Golgi apparatus Present Absent
Chloroplasts Present (in plants) Absent; chlorophyll scattered in the cytoplasm
Flagella Microscopic in size; membrane bound; usually arranged as nine doublets surrounding two singlets Submicroscopic in size, composed of only one fiber
Permeability of Nuclear Membrane Selective not present
Plasma membrane with steroid Yes Usually no
Cell wall Only in plant cells and fungi (chemically simpler) Usually chemically complexed
Vacuoles Present Present
Cell size 10-100um 1-10um

Definition of eukaryotes and prokaryotes

Prokaryotes (pro-KAR-ee-ot-es) (from Old Greek pro- before + karyon nut or kernel, referring to the cell nucleus, + suffix -otos, pl. -otes; also spelled "procaryotes") are organisms without a cell nucleus (= karyon), or any other membrane-bound organelles. Most are unicellular, but some prokaryotes are multicellular.

Eukaryotes (IPA: [juːˈkæɹɪɒt]) are organisms whose cells are organized into complex structures by internal membranes and a cytoskeleton. The most characteristic membrane bound structure is the nucleus. This feature gives them their name, (also spelled "eucaryote,") which comes from the Greek ευ, meaning good/true, and κάρυον, meaning nut, referring to the nucleus. Animals, plants, fungi, and protists are eukaryotes.

Differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells

The difference between the structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes is so great that it is considered to be the most important distinction among groups of organisms.

Structure and contents of a typical Gram positive bacterial cell (a prokaryotic cell)
Structure and contents of a typical Gram positive bacterial cell (a prokaryotic cell)



Comments: Eukaryotic Cell vs Prokaryotic Cell

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March 13, 2014, 2:36am

I'm 15 years old getting prepared for the Biology EOC Test :(

— 108.✗.✗.212

March 10, 2014, 10:47am

I like that

— 41.✗.✗.115

December 13, 2013, 7:44am

I thank u for providing us a brief explanation on eukaryotic n prokaryotic cells.

— 41.✗.✗.42

December 12, 2013, 9:25am

Easy to understand

— 106.✗.✗.129

December 5, 2013, 4:51pm

They don't really have the function of the similarity between the two:(

— 207.✗.✗.253

November 18, 2013, 3:29am

Great information i served about structural differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes

— 82.✗.✗.59

November 12, 2013, 5:10pm

really good information i think you did much better than anyone else i know that gave me information you did a nice job

— 216.✗.✗.254

November 5, 2013, 8:03pm

thank u it helped me

— 195.✗.✗.22

October 24, 2013, 2:42pm

this really help me....

— 70.✗.✗.250

October 23, 2013, 5:05pm

hi anyone know who the author is and when it was written so I can reference please x

— 82.✗.✗.110

October 22, 2013, 8:09am

you have made me a you guys

— 41.✗.✗.20

October 7, 2013, 2:20am

Thank you! This helped soooo much!

— 68.✗.✗.17

May 12, 2013, 12:11pm

Actually, most eukaryotic organisms are also unicellular. It's just that multicellularity occurs more often within the domain eukarya.

— 59.✗.✗.224

May 8, 2013, 12:49pm

Thank you for this website, it helped me so much in my A-level!

— 78.✗.✗.81

May 7, 2013, 1:59am

Just stumbled across this website and loved it. Thank you for this table! It really helped.

— 210.✗.✗.123

April 1, 2013, 3:27am

thanks nice details

— 175.✗.✗.133

February 19, 2013, 12:36am

thank you-this really helped with my homework!! :)

— 202.✗.✗.25

February 15, 2013, 4:34am

very good. I learnt a bunch of new things from this. Thanx a lot......

— 61.✗.✗.221

January 31, 2013, 2:38pm

this info was quite an eye opener i now know a lot more about cell and what kind of cells are found where

— 190.✗.✗.226

December 8, 2012, 1:22am

an A+ for me thanks so much people

— 67.✗.✗.24

December 2, 2012, 3:43am

This was very helpful thank you. S much st

— 98.✗.✗.96

November 1, 2012, 3:46pm

which structures carry out respiration in prokaryotes?

— 202.✗.✗.37

October 17, 2012, 1:50pm

why do the cells differ

— 209.✗.✗.146

October 1, 2012, 12:01am

meh. doesn't really explain the differences in function or significance.

— 65.✗.✗.250

September 11, 2012, 2:08pm

Could have better pics but good job:)

— 218.✗.✗.209

September 11, 2012, 1:05pm

Very very helpful and nice

— 218.✗.✗.209

June 2, 2012, 2:57pm

very interesting, but could use pictures in the video.

— 71.✗.✗.202

February 9, 2012, 1:26pm

Two things we learned:
- Many Eukaryotes don't have a cell wall
- Prokaryotes contain a single loop of stable chromosomal DNA stored in the nucleiod.
A question that we still have:
- What are some similarities between the two?

— 170.✗.✗.19

November 17, 2011, 3:50pm

can you add more similarities?

— 205.✗.✗.119

November 4, 2011, 6:52am

super helpful, thanks

— 74.✗.✗.59

October 30, 2011, 7:41am

really good...i really appreciate hw u made d chart on the differences and showing it clearly.........thnx a bunch

— 61.✗.✗.1

October 15, 2010, 3:16pm

since eukaryotic cells have operons as well, im disinclined to agree with the statement that operons contribute to the simplicity of prokaryotes.

— 192.✗.✗.254

March 21, 2009, 12:54am

I'm trying to figure out why there is such differences in sizes between the cells.

— 68.✗.✗.138

March 31, 2014, 6:19pm

easy and clear to understand

— 37.✗.✗.140

March 23, 2014, 3:23pm

that was awersome!

— 82.✗.✗.146

March 9, 2014, 3:50pm

i like it vry much.... thanks

— 37.✗.✗.105

March 4, 2014, 1:10pm

Extremely helpful.

— 37.✗.✗.147

March 2, 2014, 10:27am

I appreciate this so much.

— 82.✗.✗.71

February 23, 2014, 4:43pm

Thanks it helped me a lot n it really good information

— 106.✗.✗.222

February 16, 2014, 5:05pm

It is very intersting

— 141.✗.✗.143

February 16, 2014, 12:23pm

Thanks I can write my assignment easily ;)

— 139.✗.✗.227

February 11, 2014, 10:26pm

videos great

— 108.✗.✗.58

January 16, 2014, 8:00pm

Excellent information,thank u!

— 93.✗.✗.156

January 14, 2014, 2:06am

Thanks! Im having finals tomorrow so it really helps at the last minute.★

— 67.✗.✗.230

January 11, 2014, 1:49pm

what a wonderful explanation regarding eukaryotic and prokariotic cell

— 117.✗.✗.46

January 5, 2014, 6:08pm

Gud information

— 1.✗.✗.221

December 24, 2013, 7:34pm

Thx a lot....its really helpfull

— 113.✗.✗.51

December 24, 2013, 7:32pm

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U made me A+

— 113.✗.✗.51

April 2, 2013, 3:59pm

best table ever

— 59.✗.✗.196
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