47 Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Here are some of the differences:

S.N. Character Prokaryotes Eukaryotes
1. Term Origin Greek for “primitive



for “true nucleus”

2. Definition Organisms 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 groups Bacteria, Archae, 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 Complex organization.
8. Nucleus Location Free in the cytoplasm, attached to mesosomes Contained in membrane bound structure
9. Nucleur membrane No nuclear membrane. Classic membrane present.
10. Nucleolus Absent 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 %) 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. With large amounts of non-coding repetitive DNA.
18. Membrane-bound organelles Absent Present
19. Ribosomes (sedimentation coefficient) 70S (50S + 30S).Smaller. 80S (60S + 40S). Larger.
20. Ribosome’s location Free in cytoplasm or bound

to cell membrane

Attached to rough endoplasmic


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 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 (appendage that can be found on many Gram-negative and some Gram-positive bacteria). Absent
29. Microtubules Absent or rare Present
30. Centrosome Absent Present except in flowering plants.
31. Cytoskeleton May be absent Present
32. Glycocalyx Present Only in some
33. Cytoplasmic streaming Absent Present
34. Cytoplasmic membrane Does not contain sterols (except Mycoplasma) Contains sterols
35. Cell wall Complex structure containing 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 Via cytoplasmic membrane Via mitochondria
39. Energy production site Electron transport chain located in the cell


Within membrane bound


40. Metabolic rate Higher due to larger surface area to volume ratio Comparatively slow
41. Reproduction Asexual (binary fission) Sexual and asexual/ Mitotic division
42. Generation time Shorter Comparatively longer
43. Genetic Recombination Partial, unidirectional transfer Meiosis and fusion of gametes
44. Zygote Merozygotic (partially diploid) Diploid
45. Extrachromosomal


Plasmid Inside the


46. DNA replication Occurs in cytoplasm. Occurs in the nucleus.
47. Transcription and translation Occurs 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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