Comparison Among Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

Comparison Among Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

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

Differences — Similarities —

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 Sub microscopic in size, composed of only one fibre.
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


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