What is the difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells? Check the key differences here!

Safalta Expert Published by: Harshita Pathak Updated Mon, 09 May 2022 05:10 PM IST


Prokaryotes are creatures that are made up of cells without a nucleus or any membrane-encased organelles. Eukaryotes are cells with a membrane-bound nucleus that contains genetic material as well as membrane-bound organelles.

Robert Hook discovered a cell in 1665. Some cells include membrane-bound organelles, whereas others do not. In an organism, there are two types of cells: Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic, which differ in their internal structure. Prokaryotes are creatures that are made up of cells without a nucleus or any membrane-encased organelles. Eukaryotes are cells with a membrane-bound nucleus that contains genetic material as well as membrane-bound organelles. To understand the key differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, keep reading further. You may also read  Most Important List of Lists for Government Exams.

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What are Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells?

Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya are the three fundamental domains that all living things fall into. Prokaryotes are largely single-celled creatures found in the Bacteria and Archaea domains. These creatures are built up of prokaryotic cells, which are the tiniest, most basic, and oldest cells on the planet. Eukaryotic cells make up the more sophisticated organisms in the Eukarya category. Eukaryotes are unicellular or multicellular creatures that include mammals, plants, fungi, and protists. Many individuals don't know if yeasts and fungi are prokaryotes or eukaryotes. Both are eukaryotes, and their cell structures are comparable to those of other eukaryotes.

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What are Prokaryotes?

Prokaryotic cells are the most primordial cells from a morphological perspective. Bacteria and cyanobacteria are examples of organisms that lack a distinct nucleus (blue-green algae). The chromatin bodies are dispersed throughout the cytoplasm. Asexual division in prokaryotes is essentially binary fission. Eukaryotes are much larger than prokaryotes.

What are Eukaryotes?

The eukaryotes are thought to have developed from prokaryotes. Their membrane nucleus is what distinguishes them. They are found in the cytoplasm and include organelles such as mitochondria that are separated by membranes. There is a distinct nucleus in them. A nuclear membrane surrounds the chromatin bodies. Eukaryotes have both asexual and sexual divisions. They are bigger than prokaryotes and have improved structural organization and functional efficiency.

Difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

Despite the fact that these two types of cells are completely distinct, they share several properties. Both have cell membranes and ribosomes, for example, but that's where the similarities end. The following is a list of all the distinctions between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells:
  Prokaryotes Eukaryotes
Type of Cell  Always unicellular Unicellular and multi-cellular
Cell size Ranges in size from 0.2 μm – 2.0 μm in diameter Size ranges from 10 μm – 100 μm in diameter
Cell wall Usually present; chemically complex in nature When present, chemically simple in nature
Nucleus Absent. Instead, they have a nucleoid region in the cell Present
Ribosomes Present. Smaller in size and spherical in shape Present. Comparatively larger in size and linear in shape
DNA arrangement Circular Linear
Mitochondria Absent Present
Cytoplasm Present, but cell organelles absent Present, cell organelles present
Endoplasmic reticulum Absent Present
Plasmids Present Very rarely found in eukaryotes
Ribosome Small ribosomes Large ribosomes
Lysosome Lysosomes and centrosomes are absent Lysosomes and centrosomes are present
Cell division Through binary fission Through mitosis
Flagella The flagella are smaller in size The flagella are larger in size
Reproduction Asexual Both asexual and sexual
Example Bacteria and Archaea Plant and Animal cell

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Understanding Cells and Cell Membranes

The cell is an important part of our current understanding of life and living things. Cells are considered the fundamental building elements of life and are utilized to define what it means to be "living."

Individual cell functions are kept neat and compartmentalized by cells so that they do not interfere with one another and the cell may go about its task of metabolizing, reproducing, and so on. To do this, cell components are encased in a membrane that acts as a barrier between the outside world and the chemistry of the cell.

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What are the Examples of eukaryotes?

Animals, plants, fungi, algae and protozoans are all eukaryotes.

Do prokaryotes have mitochondria?

No, prokaryotes do not have mitochondria. Mitochondria are only found in eukaryotic cells. This is also true of other membrane-bound structures like the nucleus and the Golgi apparatus (more on these later). 

What are the Examples of prokaryotes?

Bacteria and archaea are the two types of prokaryotes.

What are the Key similarities between prokaryotes and eukaryotes?

All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, share these four features:
  1. DNA
  2. Plasma membrane
  3. Cytoplasm
  4. Ribosomes

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