Eukaryotic Cells

Eukaryotic cells comprise all of the life kingdoms except monera. Unlike a prokaryotic cell, a eukaryotic cell that contains membrane-bound compartments in which specific metabolic activities take place. Most important among these compartments is the nucleus, which houses the eukaryotic cell’s DNA. It is this nucleus that gives the eukaryote - literally, "true nucleus" - its name from the Greek meaning truly nuclear.
Eukaryotic cells also contain many internal membrane-bound structures called organelles, which are small structures within cells that perform dedicated functions. These organelles such as the mitochondrion or chloroplast serve to perform metabolic functions and energy conversion. Eukaryotic cells are typically 10 to 100 micrometers across, or about 10 times the size of prokaryotic cells.

Eukaryotic cells are much larger and more complicated. Inside the cell, the DNA is packaged within a nucleus, and discrete organelles perform specific jobs such as respiration and photosynthesis. These cells need oxygen to survive and they most likely evolved and lived near oxygen-producing stromatolites at first. Eukaryotes reproduce sexually. Genetic material is mixed between two parents, and while the offspring resembles the parents in major features, minor genetic
variations can yield subtle differences. The new characteristics
sometimes help eukaryotic organisms to adapt to new environments.



All eukaryotic cells have a number of features in common. These include:
  • Nucleus
  • Cytoplasm
  • Cell (Plasma) Membrane
  • Mitochondria
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • Golgi Apparatus
  • Ribosomes
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Centriole

How do they obtain their energy?

Eukaryotic cells possess a nucleus, diverse organelles and are on the order of 10 times the size of prokaryotic cells. Oxygen is required for the breakdown of carbon compounds to produce energy in aerobic respitration whereas anaerobic respiration takes place in the absence of oxygen.

  • Why did they take a longer time to evolve?
  • What effects did they have on the chemistry of the earth?