MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

638 views

What is the difference between a Prokaryote and a Eukaryote?

The most important difference between these two types of organisms is that Eukaryotes possess a cell nucleus to store DNA, the cells genetic information, whereas Prokaryotic DNA is free flowing in the cytoplasm. An easy way to remember this is to look at the etymology of the word - prokaryote comes from "pro" meaning before, and "karyon" meaning kernel, which is roughly what the cell nucleus looks like under a light microscope. The presence of a cell nucleus has all sorts of implications for eukaryotic organisms - all animals, plants and fungi - the most important one being its effect on gene regulation. The additional levels of regulation of gene expression this nucleus allows is essentially what separates us from bacteria and archaea (prokaryotes).

There are many other important distinctions between Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes however:

- All Prokaryotes are unicellular organisms. This means they lack the membrane bound organelles that we rely on such as mitochondria and chloroplasts (in plants).

- Prokaryotes often contain other bits of DNA floating around the cell called plasmids, which can be transferred "horizontally", i.e between cells in a population. Eukaryotes by contrast can only transfer their genetic information "vertically", which means to their offspring.

- Eukaryotic cells can undergo mitosis and meiosis to produce daughter cells, whereas prokaryotes can only undergo mitosis to replicate themselves. This means that only eukaryotic cells can sexually reproduce, giving them an evolutionary advantage from the increase in genetic variation this process provides.

- A final significant difference is the life cycle times: prokaryotes have on average a much shorter life cycle than eukaryotes. This allows them to divide and multiply rapidly in a new environment, making them very dangerous if they become pathogenic, as exemplified by MRSA.

Felix J. Mentoring -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor, Mentoring -Personal ...

2 years ago

Answered by Felix, an A Level Biology tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

166 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Katie D.

Degree: Biomedical Science (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Biology

Biology

“Hello, I am just a genuine, patient, friendly person who wants to help other struggling students to understand, enjoy and hopefully succeed in biology.”

£24 /hr

Benjamin W.

Degree: Medicine (Bachelors) - Oxford, Balliol College University

Subjects offered:Biology, Science+ 9 more

Biology
Science
Maths
Human Biology
History of Art
Chemistry
.UKCAT.
.BMAT (BioMedical Admissions)
-Personal Statements-
-Medical School Preparation-

“I am a friendly first year medical student studying at Oxford Uni! I am very flexible and I have a wide range of experience across many subjects and levels.”

£22 /hr

Michaela R.

Degree: Psychology BsC (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Biology, Psychology+ 3 more

Biology
Psychology
Geography
Extended Project Qualification
English

“About Me: I am a Psychology student at Durham University. I love how the subject helps us to understand ourselves and the world around us. I hope that my tutorials will make you fall in love with Psychology like I have! It is so vast ...”

About the author

Felix J.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: Natural Sciences (Masters) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:Biology, Science+ 6 more

Biology
Science
Physics
Music
Maths
Chemistry
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“Experienced tutor studying natural sciences at Cambridge. Keen to talk about anything Science or maths related!”

You may also like...

Posts by Felix

What are Oxbridge interviewers actually looking for?

What is the difference between a Prokaryote and a Eukaryote?

Other A Level Biology questions

Describe how fertiliser run-off can cause damage to a lake's ecosystem.

State two functions of membranes within cells

Describe the process of synaptic neurotransmission

Frequent treatment with antibiotics can result in resistant strains of bacteria, explain how.

View A Level Biology tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok