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Difference Between Prokaryotic Cell and Eukaryotic Cell

Main Difference

The main difference between Prokaryotic Cell and Eukaryotic Cell is that Prokaryotic Cell is a primitive type of cell without membrane-bounded organelles, whereas Eukaryotic Cell is an advanced cell with membrane-bounded organelles.

Prokaryotic Cell vs. Eukaryotic Cell

All the living organisms in the world are made up of cell. Robert Hook was the first who discovered the cell in 1665. When different cells were checked by scientists under the electron microscope, they found that all the cells are not similar internally. So, based on the internal structure, cells are divided into two main types, i.e., prokaryotic cell, and the eukaryotic cell.

A prokaryotic cell is the primitive type of cell that was evolved about 3.8 billion years ago. On the other hand, the eukaryotic cell is an advanced cell that was evolved about 2.7 billion years ago from a prokaryotic cell. Prokaryotic organisms are always unicellular, i.e., made up of single cell only while, eukaryotic organisms may be unicellular or multicellular, i.e., made up of many cells.

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A prokaryotic cell is a small-sized cell of 1-10um. On the other side, the eukaryotic cell is comparatively large with size10-100um. A prokaryotic cell is a simple cell without membrane-bounded organelles like Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, etc. On the flip side, a eukaryotic cell has all membrane-bounded organelles like chloroplast, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, peroxisomes, and mitochondria, etc.

A prokaryotic cell is without a nucleus, and genetic material is embedded simply in the cytoplasm in the center of the cell, whereas, a eukaryotic cell has a proper nucleus with genetic material embedded in it. DNA material is circular in the prokaryotic cell, but it is linear in the eukaryotic cell.

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Prokaryotic cells reproduce asexually. On the other side, eukaryotes may reproduce by both sexual and asexual means. Examples of the prokaryotic cell are bacteria and archaea etc. while the examples of a eukaryotic cell are plants and animals etc.

Comparison Chart

Prokaryotic CellEukaryotic Cell
A primitive type of cell without membrane-bounded organelles is known as a prokaryotic cell.An advanced cell with membrane-bounded organelles in the cytoplasm is known as a eukaryotic cell.
Evolution
A prokaryotic cell is a primitive cell that was evolved about 3.8 billion years ago.A eukaryotic cell is an advanced cell that was evolved about 2.7 billion years ago from the prokaryotic cell.
Etymology
The word prokaryote was derived from a Greek word where ‘Pro’ means ‘before’ and ‘karyon’ means ‘nucleus.’The word ‘Eukaryote’ was derived from a Greek word where ‘Eu’ means ‘true,’ and ‘karyon’ means ‘nucleus.’
Nucleus
Prokaryotes are without a true nucleus, i.e., genetic material is embedded in the cytoplasm in the center of the cell.Eukaryotes have a true membrane-bounded nucleus, and genetic material is embedded in it.
Organism
Prokaryotic organisms are always unicellular.Eukaryotic organisms may be unicellular or multicellular.
Size
A prokaryotic cell is a small-sized cell of 1-10um.A eukaryotic cell is comparatively large in size, i.e., about10-100um.
Endoplasmic Reticulum
The endoplasmic reticulum is absent in prokaryotes.Eukaryotes have the endoplasmic reticulum.
Mitochondria
Mitochondria is absent in them.Mitochondria is present in eukaryotes.
Lysosomes and Peroxisomes
Lysosomes and Peroxisomes both are absent in prokaryotes.Lysosomes and Peroxisomes are present in a eukaryotic cell.
Microtubules
Microtubules are absent in prokaryotes.Microtubules are present in the cytoplasm of the eukaryotes.
Cytoskeleton
The cytoskeleton is present in the cytoplasm of the prokaryotes.Eukaryotes also have a cytoskeleton.
Ribosomes
Ribosomes are present in prokaryotes but smaller in size, i.e., the 70SLarge size ribosomes are present in eukaryotes, i.e., the 80S.
Golgi Apparatus
Golgi apparatus is also absent in prokaryotes.Eukaryotes have Golgi apparatus.
Chloroplasts
The chloroplast is absent in prokaryotes and chlorophyll is scattered in the cytoplasm.Eukaryotic plant cells have proper chloroplast with chlorophyll embedded in it.
Flagella
Flagella is submicroscopic in prokaryotes and made up of only single fiber.Flagella is microscopic in eukaryotes. It is a membrane-bounded structure and arranged as nine doublets that are surrounding two singlets.
Plasma Membrane
Steroids are usually not present in the plasma membrane of the prokaryotes.Steroids are present in the plasma membrane of the eukaryotes.
Cell Wall
The cell wall is present in prokaryotes and is composed of peptidoglycan or mucopeptide (polysaccharide).The cell wall is absent in eukaryotic animals but presents in plant and fungi with different compositions but mainly comprises of cellulose (polysaccharide).
Shape of DNA
DNA material is circular in the prokaryotic cell.DNA is linear in the eukaryotic cell.
Number of Chromosomes
Prokaryote has only one but not true chromosome known as a plasmid.Eukaryotes have more than one chromosomes.
Origin of Replication
Prokaryotes ha a single origin of replication.Eukaryotes has multiple origins of replication
Reproduction
Prokaryotes has an asexual mode of reproduction.Eukaryotes may exhibit both sexual and asexual modes of reproduction.
Cell Division
A prokaryotic cell divides through binary fission by conjugation, transformation or transduction, etc.The eukaryotic cell divides through mitosis.
Transcription and Translation
In a prokaryotic cell, both transcription and translation take place together.In a eukaryotic cell, transcription takes place in the nucleus, but translation takes place in the cytosol.
Examples
Examples of the prokaryotic cell are bacteria and archaea etc.Plants, fungi, and animals, etc. are examples of eukaryotes.
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What is the Prokaryotic Cell?

Life was originated about 3.8 billion years ago and about 750 million years after the formation of this earth. The first cell that was originated was prokaryotic. So, it is a simple and primitive cell without well-developed organelles. The word prokaryote was derived from a Greek word where ‘Pro’ means ‘before’ and ‘karyon’ means ‘nucleus.’ This name was given to this type of cell because it does not have a true nucleus. Instead, they have a nucleoid region that is irregularly-shaped and contains the DNA of the cell and is without a nuclear envelope. Prokaryotes has the only asexual mode of reproduction.

Structure

  • Cell Wall that provides support, rigidity, and shape to the cell. It is composed of peptidoglycan or mucopeptide (polysaccharide).
  • The Cell Membrane surrounds cytoplasm and controls the movement of material across the cell.
  • Nucleoid represents the position of chromatin material in the cell.
  • Ribosomes play an important role in protein synthesis and are of small size, i.e., the 70S.
  • Flagellum helps in the movement of the cell.
  • Pilus is a hair-like structure that is present on the surface of the cell and helps in the transfer of genetic material between different cells.
  • Mesosomes is the outgrowth of the cell membrane that plays its role in cellular respiration.
  • Glycocalyx acts as receptors and also protect the cell wall.
  • Granules or Inclusions play an important role in the storage of material like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, etc.
  • Endospore helps in harsh conditions.
  • Fimbriae are the small hair-like structure that helps in attachment during mating.

Examples

Examples of the prokaryotic cell are bacteria and archaea etc. They play an important role in many industries like fermentation etc.

What is a Eukaryotic Cell?

The eukaryotic cell was evolved from prokaryotic cell about 2.7 billion years ago. It is an advanced type of cell with well developed, membrane-bounded organelles. The word ‘Eukaryote’ was derived from a Greek word where ‘Eu’ means ‘true,’ and ‘karyon’ means nucleus because it has a true membrane-bounded nucleus and genetic material is embedded in it. Eukaryotes exhibit both sexual and asexual mode of reproduction.

Structure

  • Cell Wall provides support, shape, and rigidity to the cell. Its composition varies from organism to organism and can be made up of cellulose, chitin, pectin, or peptidoglycan, etc.
  • Cell Membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm and controls the movement of the cell.
  • The Nucleus stores genetic material. Chromosomes are embedded in it. It is two layers that control the movement of material across it.
  • The Cytoplasm is the part where all other organelles are located.
  • Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. It plays a role in the formation of ATP.
  • The Chloroplast is present in plants and algae. It plays an important role in the transformation of light energy into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis.
  • Golgi Apparatus has many disc-shaped sacs known as cisternae that play a role in the packing and transport of material.
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum has channels like structure and transports the material across the cell-like lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates, etc. It is divided into two types, i.e., Rough endoplasmic reticulum and smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Rough endoplasmic reticulum also plays its role in protein synthesis due to the presence of ribosomes on it.
  • Ribosomes are of large size, i.e., the 80S and play a role in protein synthesis.
  • The Cytoskeleton is made up by microtubules and microfilaments. It provides support to the cell.
  • Lysosomes and Peroxisomes are vesicles that are also present in the cytoplasm of eukaryotes.
  • Appendages are cilia and flagella that help in locomotion. Cilia are small in size than flagella.
  • The Glycocalyx is an outermost layer of polysaccharides that helps in receiving signals and protects the cell.

Examples

Examples of a eukaryotic cell are plants, animals and fungi, etc. The eukaryotic organism may be unicellular or multicellular.

Key Differences

  1. A primitive type of cell without membrane-bounded organelles is known as prokaryotic cell whereas, an advanced cell with membrane-bounded organelles in the cytoplasm is known as a eukaryotic cell.
  2. A prokaryotic cell is a primitive cell that was evolved about 3.8 billion years ago. On the other hand, the eukaryotic cell is an advanced cell that was evolved about 2.7 billion years ago from a prokaryotic cell.
  3. The word prokaryote was derived from a Greek word where ‘Pro’ means ‘before’ and ‘karyon’ means ‘nucleus’ conversely, the word ‘Eukaryote’ was derived from a Greek word where ‘Eu’ means ‘true’ and ‘karyon’ means nucleus.
  4. Prokaryotes are without a true nucleus, i.e., genetic material is embedded in the cytoplasm in the center of the cell. On the flip side, eukaryotes have a true membrane-bounded nucleus, and genetic material is embedded in it.
  5. Prokaryotic organisms are always unicellular. On the other side, eukaryotic organisms may be unicellular or multicellular.
  6. A prokaryotic cell is a small-sized cell of 1-10um while; a eukaryotic cell is comparatively large in size, i.e., about10-100um.
  7. All the membrane-bounded organelles are absent in prokaryotes; on the other hand, membrane-bounded organelles like mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, microtubules, lysosomes, and peroxisomes all are present in eukaryotes.
  8. The chloroplast is absent in prokaryotes and chlorophyll is scattered in the cytoplasm whereas, eukaryotic plant cells have proper chloroplast with chlorophyll embedded in it.
  9. Flagella is submicroscopic in prokaryotes and made up of only single fiber. On the flip side, flagella are microscopic in eukaryotes. It is a membrane-bounded structure and arranged as nine doublets that are surrounding two singlets.
  10. Steroids are usually not present in the plasma membrane of the prokaryotes, whereas, steroids are present in the plasma membrane of the eukaryotes.
  11. The cell wall is present in prokaryotes and is composed of peptidoglycan or mucopeptide (polysaccharide). On the other side, the cell wall is absent in eukaryotic animals but present in plant and fungi with different compositions but mainly comprises of cellulose (polysaccharide).
  12. DNA material is circular in a prokaryotic cell, but, DNA is linear in the eukaryotic cell.
  13. Prokaryote has only one but not true chromosome known as a plasmid. On the other side, eukaryotes have more than one chromosomes.
  14. Prokaryotes have a single origin of replication, whereas; eukaryotes have multiple origins of replication.
  15. Prokaryotes show an asexual mode of reproduction. On the other hand, eukaryotes may exhibit both sexual and asexual modes of reproduction.
  16. The prokaryotic cell divides through binary fission by conjugation, transformation or transduction, etc. On the flip side, the eukaryotic cell divides by mitosis.
  17. In a prokaryotic cell, both transcription and translation take place together while, in a eukaryotic cell, transcription takes place in the nucleus, but translation occurs in the cytosol.
  18. Examples of the prokaryotic cell are bacteria and archaea etc. On the other side, plants, fungi, and animals, etc. are examples of eukaryotes.

Comparison Video

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Conclusion

Above discussion summarizes that prokaryotic cell is a small primitive type of cell that is without any well-developed membrane-bounded organelle and true nucleus. On the other side, the eukaryotic cell is a large and advanced type of cell that has a true nucleus, and well-developed membrane-bounded organelles.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White