Cells Living in Cells

Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes

Every cell on our planet is either a prokaryotic or a eukaryotic cell. There are many differences between the two cell types. The table on this page highlights just a few of the main differences. 

A prokaryotic cell and a eukaryotic cell


Prokaryotes                                     Eukaryotes
Small cell size (0.2 - 2 um) Large cell size (10 - 100 um)
Nucleus absent Nucleus present
Membrane-bound organelles absent Membrane-bound organelles present
DNA in circular chromosomes DNA in linear chromosomes
Cell division by binary fission Cell division by mitosis and meiosis

Bacteria and microbes from the group Archaea are prokaryotes. All other life, including plants, animals, fungus, and amoebas, are eukaryotes. The eukaryotic cell shown above on the right is representative of an animal cell.

Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Prokaryotic cell by LadyofHats.

View Citation

You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes
  • Author(s): Sally Warring
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: February 24, 2016
  • Date accessed: March 17, 2023
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/prokaryotes-vs-eukaryotes

APA Style

Sally Warring. (2016, February 24). Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved March 17, 2023 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/prokaryotes-vs-eukaryotes

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Sally Warring. "Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 24 February, 2016. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/prokaryotes-vs-eukaryotes

MLA 2017 Style

Sally Warring. "Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 24 Feb 2016. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 17 Mar 2023. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/prokaryotes-vs-eukaryotes

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Eukaryotic cell structure

Plant cells are a type of eukaryotic cell.

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