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Characteristics of Prokaryotes

6 April, 2016 - 17:26

There are many differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. However, all cells have four common structures: a plasma membrane that functions as a barrier for the cell and separates the cell from its environment; cytoplasm, a jelly-like substance inside the cell; genetic material (DNA and RNA); and ribosomes, where protein synthesis takes place. Prokaryotes come in various shapes, but many fall into three categories: cocci (spherical), bacilli (rod-shaped), and spirilla (spiral-shaped) (Figure 13.4).

Figure 13.4 Many prokaryotes fall into three basic categories based on their shape: (a) cocci, or spherical; (b) bacilli, or rod-shaped; and (c) spirilla, or spiral-shaped.