What is the difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells?

Cells are the building blocks of life i.e. all living organisms are made up of cells. Do you know about the internal structure of a cell? How many types of cells are found in an organism? Let's have a look!
Created On: Oct 7, 2020 12:41 IST
Modified On: Oct 7, 2020 12:44 IST
Difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
Difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

In 1665, Robert Hook discovered a cell. Some cells have membrane-bound organelles and some do not have. Depending upon the internal structure of the cell, two types of cells are found in an organism namely Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic. What is the difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells?

Cells are also known as 'a small room'. It is the functional and structural unit of life. It is a small united area where all kinds of actions and reactions collectively take place.

Organisms that are made up of single cells are known as single-celled organisms or unicellular and from many cells are known as multi-cellular organisms. In 1665, the cell was first discovered by Robert Hook.

When scientists studied cells of various living organisms from an electron microscope, it was found that many organisms have no distinct nucleus surrounded by a cell membrane.

Thus, two types of cells are found in the organisms: eukaryotic and prokaryotic depending on whether cells contain membrane-bound organelles or not. Their genetic materials are enclosed by a nuclear envelope or not. Let us study through this article about the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

What are Prokaryotes?

According to the morphological point of view, prokaryotic cells are the most primitive cells. They do not have a definite nucleus which includes bacteria and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). The chromatin bodies remain scattered inside the cytoplasm. In prokaryotes, asexual division occurs basically binary fission. Prokaryotes are smaller than eukaryotes. Do you know that the nucleus which does not have a nuclear membrane is known as nucleoid?

Structure of Plant and Animal Cell

What are Eukaryotes?

It is believed that eukaryotes have been evolved from the prokaryotes. They have been characterised by their membrane nucleus. They contain organelles like mitochondria bounded by membranes and are located in the cytoplasm. That is they contain a definite nucleus. The chromatin bodies are enclosed by a nuclear membrane. Both asexual and sexual division occurs in eukaryotes. They are larger than prokaryotes and show better structural organisation and increased functional efficiency than prokaryotes.

Now let us study the difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

Prokaryotic Cell

Eukaryotic cell

Size is 0.1- 5.0 um

Size is 5-100 um

Nucleus is absent

Nucleus is present

Membrane-bound nucleus absent.

Membrane-bound Nucleus is present.

One chromosome is present, but not true chromosome plastids

More than one number of chromosomes is present.



Lysosomes and Peroxisomes absent

Lysosomes and Peroxisomes present

Microtubules absent

Microtubules present

Endoplasmic reticulum absent

Endoplasmic reticulum present

Mitochondria absent

Mitochondria present

Cytoskeleton absent

Cytoskeleton present

Ribosomes smaller

Ribosomes larger

Vesicles present

Vesicles present

Golgi apparatus absent

Golgi apparatus present

Chloroplasts absent; chlorophyll scattered in the cytoplasm

Chloroplasts present in plants

Submicroscopic in size Flagella is present and made up of only one fiber

Microscopic in size, membrane-bound

Cell wall chemically complexed

Cell wall is present in plants and fungi and chemically simpler

Vacuoles absent

Vacuoles present

Permeability of Nuclear membrane is not present

Permeability of Nuclear membrane is selective

Sexual reproduction is absent

Sexual reproduction is present

Endocytosis and exocytosis are absent.

Endocytosis and exocytosis occurred

It may have pili and fimbriae.

Pili and fimbriae are absent

Transcription occurs in the cytoplasm

Transcription occurs inside the nucleus.

Examples: Bacteria and Archaea

Examples: Protists, Fungi, Plants, and Animals

Therefore, we can say that on the basis of genetic materials enclosed by a nuclear envelope, cells are divided into prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Prokaryotes don’t have membrane-bound organelles whereas eukaryotes have.

What do you mean by Evolution?


What are the similarities or common features that are shared by prokaryotes and eukaryotes?

Ans: All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic share these four features namely DNA, Plasma Membrane, Cytoplasm, and Ribosomes.

What is a Eukaryotic cell?

Ans: These cells possess a true nucleus and have membrane-bound organelles. They are either unicellular or multicellular.

What is a Prokaryotic cell?

Ans: It is a primitive cell characterised by the absence of a nucleus. Prokaryotes do not have membrane-bound organelles and are exclusively unicellular.

What is the function of Ribosomes?

Ans: They are responsible for protein synthesis.

Related Categories