2. Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes

Eukaryote vs. Prokaryote

Eukaryotes are organisms in which at the cellular level most of their genetic material is located inside a double-membraned nucleus. Other genetic materials outside the nucleus are found in the mitochondria and the chloroplasts (if present). The chromosomes of eukaryotes are linear strands of DNA. Both eukaryotes and prokaryotes store their genetic information in their genes. The main source of metabolic energy is ATP.

In prokaryotes, the chromosome is mostly circular. Prokaryotes are smaller in size than eukaryotes. Therefore, prokaryotes have a large surface area to volume ratio. And because of this, they have a high metabolic rate and high growth rate.

Both eukaryotes and prokaryotes have ribosomes that serve as the site of protein synthesis. However, the composition of their ribosomes differs. The prokaryotic ribosome is 70S and it is made up of 50S (large subunit) and 30S (small subunit). The eukaryotic ribosome is 80S and it consists of 60S (large subunit) and 40S (small subunit). [N.B. the S units do not add up since they represent measures of sedimentation rate, not mass.]

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