Top 40 Difference between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

“Prokaryote” is the term used to denote a group of unicellular organisms which lacks a membrane-bound nucleus, mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound cell organelles.

Sometimes it is seen that some unicellular prokaryotes aggregate together and work as a Multicellular organism or to work more efficiently and called as Multicellular prokaryotes but usually the prokaryotes are Unicellular.

The term prokaryotes derived from the Greek word πρό (pro) meaning “before” and the κάρυον (karyon) meaning “nut or kernel”. Prokaryotes are mainly divided into Archaea and Bacteria.

Prokaryotic organisms reproduce without the fusion of gametes via budding or Binary fission etc. Moreover, the first living organisms on this planet are thought to have been prokaryotes.

In contrast, the organisms having a membrane-bound nucleus and cell organelles like mitochondria etc. are placed in Eukaryota.

Eukaryotic organism belongs to the domain Eukaryota or Eukarya (the 3 domain classification).

Their name comes from the Greek word εὖ (Eu) meaning “well” or “true” and the κάρυον (karyon) meaning “nut” or “kernel”.

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The Eukaryotic cells also contain other membrane-bound organelles such as the Golgi apparatus, and in addition to this, some of the Plant cells and algae contain chloroplasts (where photosynthesis occurs).

Eukaryotes are usually multicellular organisms and include the organisms consisting of many cell types forming various kinds of tissue which performs different functions.

The most common example of Eukaryotes includes Humans, Animals, and Plants.

Below is the List of Top 40 Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes:

S.No.CharacteristicsProkaryotes Eukaryotes
1.)DefinitionUnicellular or Multicellular Organisms made up of cell(s) that lack membrane-bound nucleus or cell organelles like mitochondria & Golgi apparatus etc.Multicellular Organisms made up of cells that have membrane-bound nucleus and various cell organelles like mitochondria, Golgi apparatus etc.
2.)OriginAround 3.5 billion years ago.Around 2 billion years ago.
3.)Major groupsBacteria, Archae, and Blue-green algaeAlgae, fungi, protozoa, plants, animals
4.)Size0.5-3.0 μm (Approximately)>5 μm (Approximately)
5.)Cell TypeUsually unicellular (some Cyanobacteria may be Multicellular)Usually Multicellular
6.)Cellular OrganizationSimpleComplex
7.)Nucleus LocationFree in the cytoplasm, attached to MesosomesContained in membrane bound structure
8.)Nuclear membraneAbsentPresent
10.)Chromosome numberOneMore than One

S.No.CharacteristicsProkaryotes Eukaryotes
11.)Chromosome shapeCircularLinear
12.)GenesExpressed in groups called Operons.Expressed individually
13.)GenomeDNA haploid genomeDNA diploid genome
14.)DNA wrapping on proteinsMultiple proteins act together to fold and condense prokaryotic DNA.
Folded DNA is then organized into a variety of conformations that are super coiled and wound around tetramers of the HU protein.
Eukaryotes wrap their DNA around proteins called histones.
15.)Genome natureEfficient and compact with little repetitive DNA.With large amounts of non-coding repetitive DNA.
16.)DNA base ratio (G+C %)28-73About 40
17.)Membrane-bound organellesAbsentPresent
18.)Ribosomes [sedimentation coefficient (S) ]70S (50S + 30S). Smaller.80S (60S + 40S). Larger.
19.)Ribosome’s locationFree in cytoplasm or bound to cell membraneAttached to rough endoplasmic reticulum
20.)Generation timeShorterComparatively longer

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S.No.CharacteristicsProkaryotes Eukaryotes
22.)Golgi bodiesAbsentPresent
23.)Endoplasmic reticulumAbsentPresent
26.)CentrosomeAbsentPresent except in flowering plants.
27.)MicrotubulesAbsent or rareAbsent
29.)ChloroplastsAbsent but chlorophyll scattered in the cytoplasmPresent (In Plants Only)
30.)FimbriaeProkaryotes may have pili and fimbriae (appendage that can be found on many Gram-negative and some Gram-positive bacteria).Absent

S.No.CharacteristicsProkaryotes Eukaryotes
31.)GlycocalyxPresentOnly in some
32.)Cytoplasmic streamingAbsentPresent
33.)Muramic acidPresentAbsent
34.)Cell wallComplex structure containing protein, lipids, and peptidoglycansPresent for plant cells and fungi; otherwise absent
35.)MovementSimple flagellum, if presentComplex flagellum, if present
36.)Cytoplasmic membraneDoes not contain sterols (except Mycoplasma)Contains sterols
37.)Respirationvia Cytoplasmic MembraneVia Mitochondria
38.)Metabolic rateHigher due to larger surface area to volume ratioComparatively slow
39.)DNA replicationOccurs in cytoplasm.Occurs in the nucleus.
40.)ReproductionAsexual (binary fission)Sexual and Asexual/ Mitotic division

That’s all about the 40 difference between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes.

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