47 Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020 by Sagar Aryal

Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Here are some of the differences:

1.Term OriginGreek for “primitive



for “true nucleus”

2.DefinitionOrganisms made up of cell(s) that lack a cell nucleus or any membrane-encased organelles.Organisms made up of cells that possess a membrane-bound nucleus as well as membrane-bound organelles.
3.Major groupsBacteria, Archae, and Bluegreen algaeAlgae, fungi, protozoa, plants, animals
4.OriginAround 3.5 billion years ago.Around 2 billion years ago.
5.Size (approximate)0.5-3.0 μm>5 μm
6.Cell TypeUsually unicellular (some cyanobacteria may be multicellular)Usually multicellular
7.ComplexitySimpleComplex organization.
8.Nucleus LocationFree in the cytoplasm, attached to mesosomesContained in membrane bound structure
9.Nucleur membraneNo nuclear membrane.Classic membrane present.
11.Chromosome numberOneMore than one
12.Chromosome shapeCircularLinear
13.GenesExpressed in groups called operons.Expressed individually
14.GenomeDNA haploid genomeDNA diploid genome
15.DNA base ratio (G+C %)28-73About 40
16.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 supercoiled and wound around tetramers of the HU protein.Eukaryotes wrap their DNA around proteins called histones.
17.Genome natureEfficient and compact with little repetitive DNA.With large amounts of non-coding repetitive DNA.
18.Membrane-bound organellesAbsentPresent
19.Ribosomes (sedimentation coefficient)70S (50S + 30S).Smaller.80S (60S + 40S). Larger.
20.Ribosome’s locationFree in cytoplasm or bound

to cell membrane

Attached to rough endoplasmic


22.Golgi bodiesAbsentPresent
23.Endoplasmic reticulumAbsentPresent
24.MesosomesPresent. Performs the function of Golgi bodies and mitochondria and also help in the separation of chromosome during cell division.Absent


Absent; chlorophyll scattered in the cytoplasmPresent (in plants)
28.FimbriaeProkaryotes may have pili and fimbriae (appendage that can be found on many Gram-negative and some Gram-positive bacteria).Absent
29.MicrotubulesAbsent or rarePresent
30.CentrosomeAbsentPresent except in flowering plants.
31.CytoskeletonMay be absentPresent
32.GlycocalyxPresentOnly in some
33.Cytoplasmic streamingAbsentPresent
34.Cytoplasmic membraneDoes not contain sterols (except Mycoplasma)Contains sterols
35.Cell wallComplex structure containing protein, lipids, and peptidoglycansPresent for plant cells and fungi; otherwise absent
36.Muramic acidPresentAbsent
37.MovementSimple flagellum, if presentComplex flagellum, if present
38.RespirationVia cytoplasmic membraneVia mitochondria
39.Energy production siteElectron transport chain located in the cell


Within membrane bound


40.Metabolic rateHigher due to larger surface area to volume ratioComparatively slow
41.ReproductionAsexual (binary fission)Sexual and asexual/ Mitotic division
42.Generation timeShorterComparatively longer
43.Genetic RecombinationPartial, unidirectional transferMeiosis and fusion of gametes
44.ZygoteMerozygotic (partially diploid)Diploid


PlasmidInside the


46.DNA replicationOccurs in cytoplasm.Occurs in the nucleus.
47.Transcription and translationOccurs simultaneously.Transcription occurs in nucleus and then translation occurs in cytoplasm.


  1. Murray, Patrick R. (2016). Medical Microbiology.Eighth edition. India: Elsevier Inc.
  2. Parija S.C. (2012). Textbook of Microbiology & Immunology.(2 ed.). India: Elsevier India.
  3. https://www.diffen.com/difference/Eukaryotic_Cell_vs_Prokaryotic_Cell
  4. http://www.microbiologynotes.com/differences-between-prokaryotic-and-eukaryotic-cells/
  5. https://www.bioexplorer.net/difference-between-prokaryotic-and-eukaryotic-cells.html/

Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

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