How do prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells differ?

1 Answer

There are two primary types of cells: eukaryotic cells and prokaryotic cells.

The word Eukaryote means "new nut". Eukaryotic cells are called so because they have a true nucleus. The nucleus, which houses DNA, is contained within a membrane and separated from other cellular structures.
Prokaryotic cells however have no true nucleus. The word prokaryote means before the "nut". DNA in a prokaryotic cell is not separated from the rest of the cell but coiled up in a region called the nucleoid.

Eukaryotes include animals, plants, fungi and protists. Typically, eukaryotic cells are more complex and much larger than prokaryotic cells. On average, prokaryotic cells are about 10 times smaller in diameter than eukaryotic cells.

Eukaryotes grow and reproduce through a process called mitosis. In organisms that also reproduce sexually, the reproductive cells are produced by a type of cell division called meiosis.

Most prokaryotes reproduce through a process called binary fission. During binary fission, the single DNA molecule replicates and the original cell is divided into two identical daughter cells.