Prokaryotes vs Eukaryotes – Main Differences and Comparison


Prokaryotic cells, as well as eukaryotic cells, both are two fundamental classes of cells. All organisms are formed from the basic fundamental unit of life i.e. cells. Human is a eukaryote. Human cells are eukaryotic cells. Eukaryotes having membrane-bound organelles, including the primitive nucleus. Bacteria is a prokaryote. Prokaryotes don’t have a nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelles.

Differences between Prokaryotes vs Eukaryotes cells comparison

Difference Between Eukaryotic Cells vs Prokaryotic Cells:

In this article, we are going to discuss the main differences between the eukaryotes (like Human body) and prokaryotes (like Bacteria).

S.N. Characteristics Prokaryotes Eukaryotes
1. Term Origin ‘pro’ = pre, ‘karyon’= nucleus; Greek for “primitive nucleus” ‘eu’ = true, ‘karyo’ = nucleus; Greek for “true nucleus”
2. Definition Organisms made up of the cell(s) that lack a cell nucleus or any membrane-bound organelles. Organisms made up of cells that possess a membrane-bound nucleus as well as membrane-bound organelles.
3. Major groups Bacteria, Archaea, and Bluegreen algae. Algae, fungi, protozoa, plants, animals.
4. Origin Around 3.5 billion years ago. Around 2 billion years ago.
5. Size (approximate) 0.5-3.0 μm >5 μm
6. Cell Type Usually unicellular (some cyanobacteria may be multicellular) Usually multicellular
7. Complexity Simple organization. Complex organization.
8. Nucleus Location Free in the cytoplasm, attached to mesosomes. Contained in membrane-bound structure.
9. Nuclear membrane No nuclear membrane. Double membrane present.
10. Nucleolus Absent in this. Present.
11. Chromosome number One More than one
12. Chromosome shape Circular Linear
13. Genes Expressed in groups called operons. Expressed individually
14. Genome DNA haploid genome DNA diploid genome
15. DNA base ratio (G+C %) Near about 28-73 about 40
16. DNA wrapping on proteins Multiple proteins act together to fold and condense prokaryotic DNA. Folded DNA is then organized into a variety of conformations that are supercoiled and wound around tetramers of the HU protein. Eukaryotes wrap their DNA around proteins called histones.
17. Genome nature Efficient and compact with little repetitive DNA. This present with large amounts of non-coding repetitive DNA.
18. Membrane-bound organelles Absent Both membrane-bound and lack membrane-bound organelles present.
19. Ribosomes (sedimentation coefficient) 70S (50S + 30S). Smaller unit present. 80S (60S + 40S). Larger unit present.
20. Ribosome’s location Free in the cytoplasm or bound to the cell membrane. Attached to rough endoplasmic reticulum and also found freely in the cytoplasm.
21. Mitochondria Absent Present.
22. Golgi bodies Absent Present.
23. Endoplasmic reticulum Absent Present.
24. Mesosomes Present. Performs the function of Golgi bodies and mitochondria and also help in the separation of the chromosome during cell division. Absent
25. Lysosomes Absent Present
26. Peroxisomes Absent Present
27. Chloroplasts Absent; chlorophyll scattered in the cytoplasm Present (in plants)
28. Fimbriae Prokaryotes may have pili and fimbriae (the appendage that can be found on many Gram-negative and some Gram-positive bacteria). Absent
29. Microtubules Absent. Present
30. Centrosome Absent Present in animals cell.
31. Cytoskeleton May be absent Present
32. Glycocalyx Present Only in some
33. Cytoplasmic streaming Absent Present
34. Cytoplasmic membrane Sterols absent (except Mycoplasma) Contains sterols.
35. Cell wall Complex hard structure made up of protein, lipids, and peptidoglycans. Present for plant cells and fungi; otherwise absent
36. Muramic acid Present Absent
37. Movement Simple flagellum, if  present Complex flagellum, if present
38. Respiration Through cytoplasmic membrane. By mitochondria.
39. Energy production site Electron transport chain found in the cell membrane Inside membrane-bound mitochondria
40. Metabolic rate Higher due to the larger surface area to volume ratio. Comparatively slow than a prokaryotic cell.
41. Reproduction Only asexual (binary fission)  Both sexual and asexual reproduction present. Mitotic division
42. Generation time Shorter Relatively longer.
43. Genetic Recombination Partial, unidirectional transfer Meiosis and fusion of gametes occur.
44. Zygote Merozygotic (partially diploid) Diploid(2n) cell.
45. Extrachromosomal DNA Occur in Plasmid. Inside the mitochondria.
46. DNA replication occurs in the cytoplasm. Occurs in the nucleus.
47. Transcription and translation occur simultaneously. Transcription occurs in the nucleus and then translation occurs in the cytoplasm.


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