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Prokaryotes vs Eukaryotes

July 22, 2022
written by Sidra Batool

The key difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is the presence or absence of a distinct nucleus and membrane-bound organelles within their cells.

Difference Between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Here are the main differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes:

1. Presence of Nucleus

Nucleus is Absent.Nucleus is Present in Eukaryotic cell.
image of the nucleus in eukaryotes

2. Presence of Membrane-bound organelles

Membrane-bound organelles are Absent.Membrane-bound organelles are Present.
image showing membrane-bound organelles in eukaryotes

3. Cell Structure

They are Unicellular.Mostly eukaryotes are  multicellular. Some are unicellular.
image showing cell structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes

4. Complexity Of Cell

Their body organization is Simpler.Their body organization is more complex.
image showing simple organization of prokaryotes

5. Cell Size

Cell size of prokaryotes is Smaller. It ranges from 0.1-5 μm.Cell size of eukaryotes is larger. It ranges from 10-100 μm.

6. DNA Type

Their DNA is in Circular.Their DNA is linear.
image showing circular DNA in prokaryotes

Detailed Overview of Difference Between Prokaryotes & Eukaryotes

Prokaryotes and eukaryotes differ in several key features that reflect their distinct evolutionary paths.

  • Cell Type – Prokaryotes have simple, single-celled organisms without a nucleus, while Eukaryotes have complex, multi-cellular organisms with a nucleus enclosed within a membrane.
  • Size – Prokaryotes are typically smaller, ranging from 0.1 – 5.0 μm in diameter, while Eukaryotes are typically larger, ranging from 10 – 100 μm in diameter.
  • Genetic Material – Prokaryotes have a single, circular chromosome located in the cytoplasm, while Eukaryotes have multiple linear chromosomes contained within a nucleus.
  • Organelles – Prokaryotes lack membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts, while Eukaryotes contain membrane-bound organelles that perform specialized cellular functions.
  • Cell Wall – Prokaryotes have a cell wall composed of peptidoglycan, while Eukaryotes lack peptidoglycan in their cell walls.
  • Ribosomes – Prokaryotes have 70S ribosomes, while Eukaryotes have 80S ribosomes.
  • Reproduction – Prokaryotes reproduce asexually by binary fission, while Eukaryotes can reproduce both sexually and asexually.
  • Evolution – Prokaryotes are thought to be the early ancestors of eukaryotic cells, while Eukaryotes are believed to have evolved from early prokaryotic organisms.