Difference between EUCHARIOTE CELL and PROCARIOTE - Schematics

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Did you know that all current cells have evolved from the same common cell? The amazing cellular world studied by a specific branch of science, cell biology, allows us to understand more and more the characteristics of the fundamental units of life: cells. With the help of microscopes, it has been possible to describe the variable appearance and function of cells, as well as to know their basic properties, which has allowed scientists to differentiate between two types of cells: prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

In this interesting article by Green Ecologist you will find detailed information about the amazing cellular world and learn about the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell with a comparative chart and schematics.

Difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell - summary

The main differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell They are determined according to their size and the presence or absence of certain organelles and cellular structures.

  • In general, we can establish that eukaryotic cells are larger (more than 10 microns) and complexity compared to prokaryotes, whose size does not exceed 10 microns and have a simpler structure.
  • The cell nucleus (in which the cell's DNA is delimited), is present only and exclusively in eukaryotic cells, as well as the cytoskeleton and other cellular organelles, such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and vacuoles.
  • On the other hand, the way of life like single-celled organisms independent is characteristic of prokaryotic cellsWhile, within eukaryotic cells, some live unicellularly and freely, while others constitute complex multicellular organisms. Learn more about this topic in this other Green Ecologist article on What are unicellular and multicellular living beings with examples.
  • Another aspect to differentiate would be reproduction, always being the asexual reproduction in prokaryotic cells, while in eukaryotes there are both types of cellular reproduction processes: asexual and sexual. You can learn more about this topic with the example of Plants with asexual reproduction: characteristics and examples.

Similarities between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell - summary

Aside from the differences seen, there are also some similarities between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell:

  • Both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells are the basic and fundamental units of life on earth. Thanks to them, each and every one of the different unicellular and multicellular organisms have been able to evolve and colonize the different habitats of the planet.
  • Both types of cells are characterized by being structures delimited by membranes that retain their interior DNA or genetic information, as well as different enzymatic machinery that allows them to develop their vital functions: feeding, growth and reproduction.
  • To survive and evolve, eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells constantly convert energy from one way to another, in addition to maintaining a continuous relationship with its exterior, in order to respond in this way to the different sources of chemical-biological information that they receive from the environment.

What is a eukaryotic cell - characteristics

The meaning of eukaryote comes from the Greek, where "eu" means "true" and "karyon", "nucleus". Thus, the main defining characteristic of eukaryotic cells is the presence of a true core inside its cellular structure, which delimits and maintains the cell's DNA in an organized way.

In addition to the nucleus, among the characteristics of eukaryotic cells we find that they have a wide and complex cellular organelle system, among which are the surprising mitochondria capable of generating energy that the cell uses to feed and grow, the chloroplasts present in photosynthetic organisms, as well as the cytoskeleton responsible for cell movement and the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus, in which they are manufactured , tarsport and modify innumerable substances and chemical components of the cell membrane and other structures.

In terms of their organization and way of life, complex eukaryotic cells are capable of living freely as single-celled organisms, (like the amoebas of the Protista kingdom or yeast, Fungi kingdom); as well as being able to form groups and create multicellular organisms of astonishing complexity, as are all the organisms of the kingdom Plantae and the kingdom Animalia, and some of the fungi of the kingdom Fungi.

For you to understand more about this type of cells, here we leave you an article on the Similarity and difference between animal and plant cells and a related video.

What is a prokaryotic cell - characteristics

The prokaryotic cells are the most diverse cells, as well as the simpler and older, if we look at the evolutionary history of living organisms. Its own name, from the Greek "pro" which means "before", refers to its existence prior to the appearance of the other type of existing cells, eukaryotes.

The different prokaryotic cells that have flooded with cellular life practically all the habitats of the Earth, belong to the Monera kingdom and they are bacteria (Eubacteria) and archaea (Archea). Learn more about the Monera Kingdom: what it is, characteristics, classification and examples here.

If we use a high-resolution electron microscope, we could observe how the interior of prokaryotic cells is practically summarized in a matrix without a well-organized internal structure, where, in a single compartment, the cytoplasm (aqueous gel in which is accumulate chemical molecules) and cellular DNA. Likewise, we could see how a resistant protective layer surrounds said compartment, it is the cell wall.

Other major characteristics of prokaryotic cells They are its variable morphology (spherical, spiral or rod, etc.), as well as its rapid division through asexual reproduction, and its ability to exchange generic material with other organisms through certain structures present in its wall and membrane and cell.

Now that you know more about this topic, we encourage you to watch this explanatory video about the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell so that you know more details in a practical way.

If you want to read more articles similar to Difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

  • Becker, W., Kleinsmith, L. & Hardin, J. (2007) The world of the cell. Pearson Publishing, pp: 1-19.
  • Alberts, B. et al., (2011) Introduction to Cell Biology. Editorial Medica Panamericana, 3rd edition, pp: 1-23.
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