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Differences between Prokaryotic and Eucaryotic Cells

All living cells can be classified as either prokaryotic or eukarytoic. Prokaryotic cells lack a nucleus and other membrane enclosed structures, whereas eukaryotic cells have such structure.

All prokaryotes are single-celled organism and all are bacteria. Eukarytoes include all plants, animals, fungi, and protists (such as malaria parasite).


Features Procaryotic cells Eucaryotic cells
Size 1-2 by 1-4 micrometer or less Greater than 5 micrometer in width or diameter
Genetic system
Location Nucleoid, chromatin body or nuclear material Nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts
Structure of nucleus Not bounded by nuclear membrane; one circular chromosome
Chromosome does not contain histones; no mitotic division
Nucleolus absent; functionally related genes may be clustered.
Bounded by nuclear membrane; more than one chromosome
Chromosomes have histones; mitotic nuclear divisionNucelolus present; functionally related genes not clustered
Sexuality Zygote nature is merozygotic (partial diploid) Zygote is diploid
Cytoplasmic nature and Structures
Cytoplasmic streaming Absent Present
Pinocytosis Absent Present
Gas vacuoles Can be present Absent
Mesosome Present Absent
Ribosomes 70S, distributed in the cytoplasm. 80S arrayed on membranes as in endoplasmic reticulum; 70S in mitochondria and chloroplasts
Mitochondria Absent Present
Chloroplasts Absent May be present
Golgi structures Absent Present
Endoplasmic reticulum Absent Present
Membrane-bound (true) vacuoles Absent Present
Outer Cell Structure
Cytoplasmic membranes Generally do not contain sterols; contain part of respiratory and, in some, photosynthetic machinery Sterols present; do not carry out respiration and photosynthesis
Cell Wall Peptidoglycan (murein or mucopeptide) as component Absence of peptidoglycan
Locomotor organelles Simple fibril (Flagella) Multifibrilled with “9+2” microtubules
Pseudopodia Absent Present in some
Metabolic mechanisms Wide variety, particularly that of anaerobic energy yielding reactions; some fix nitrogen gas; some accumulate poly-β-hydroxybutyrate as reserve material Glycolysis is pathway for anaerobic energy-yielding mechanism
DNA base ratios as moles % of guanine + cytosine (G+C%) 28 to 73 About 40