High School Biology : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following cellular structures can be found in prokaryotes?

Possible Answers:

Nucleus

Ribosomes

Mitochondria

Chloroplasts

Correct answer:

Ribosomes

Explanation:

Much like eukaryotes, prokaryotes are capable of translating their own proteins. Prokaryotes follow the same central dogma as eukaryotic cells, using DNA to transcribe mRNA and using mRNA and ribosomes to build proteins from amino acids. Ribosomes are primarily composed of rRNA, and are not bound by a membrane.

Prokaryotes lack a nucleus, as well as complex membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which structures are found in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells?

Possible Answers:

Cell membrane, nucleus, ribosomes

Cell membrane, DNA, ribosomes

Cell wall, circular chromosome, RNA

Cell membrane, DNA, mitochondria

Correct answer:

Cell membrane, DNA, ribosomes

Explanation:

The primary difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is the presence of membrane-bound organelles. Prokaryotes lack any membrane-bound organelles, including a nucleus, while eukaryotes possess these structures. All cell types have an outer cell membrane, which contains the cytosol, DNA, and ribosomes. Ribosomes are not bound by membranes, and are essential for translating proteins. Both prokaryotes and eukaryotes use transcription to convert DNA to RNA and translation to convert RNA to proteins.

Mitochondria are only found in eukaryotes and are used to produce ATP via oxidative phosphorylation. A circular chromosome is characteristic of prokaryotes, since they lack a nucleus. Both prokaryotes and eukaryotes can have cell walls.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following statements is false?

Possible Answers:

Prokaryotes are smaller in size that eukaryotes

Prokaryotes lack a nucleus

Prokaryotes do not undergo meiosis

Prokaryotes and eukaryotes have identical ribosomes

Prokaryotes do not have membrane-enclosed organelles

Correct answer:

Prokaryotes and eukaryotes have identical ribosomes

Explanation:

Prokaryotes are much smaller in size than eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are known for their membrane-bound organelles, such as the mitochondria, vesicles, and vacuoles. Prokaryotes do not have membrane-bound organelles. Some eukaryotic organisms go through the process of meiosis in order to produce variation for sexual reproduction.

Prokaryotes undergo a different process to reproduce asexually, called binary fission. The DNA of prokaryotes are contained in a circular chromosome called a nucleoid, which is replicated completely. The cell then splits in two, with each having an exact copy of the same plasmid. Prokaryotes lack a nucleus by definition. 

The prokaryotic ribosome is smaller, at 70S, while the eukaryotic ribosome is larger, at 80S. The ribosomes also contain different sized subunits. Prokaryotic ribosomes are made of a 30S and 50S subunit to form the full 70S structure. Eukaryotic ribosomes are made of a 40S and 60S subunit to form the full 80S ribosome.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following statements is false with regard to prokaryotic cells?

Possible Answers:

Prokaryotic cells have ribosomes

Prokaryotic cells have nuclei

Prokaryotic cells have DNA

Prokaryotic cells have cell walls

Correct answer:

Prokaryotic cells have nuclei

Explanation:

Eukaryotes and prokaryotes split during evolution when eukaryotic cells adapted membrane-bound organelles. These organelles include the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, chloroplasts, Golgi apparatus, and nucleus (among others). Prokaryotes lack all of these structures.

All cells, however, contain DNA and ribosomes in order to synthesize proteins and maintain metabolic processes. Ribosomes are not bound by membranes, and are instead made of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and proteins. Both prokaryotes and eukaryotes can have cell walls, though the structure and composition of the cell wall can vary.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following is not present in eukaryotes but is present in prokaryotes?

Possible Answers:

None of the other answer choices

Cell wall

Cytosol

Plasma membrane

Ribosomes

Correct answer:

None of the other answer choices

Explanation:

It is important to remember that there are multiple types of eukaryotes. All eukaryotes have a plasma membrane, ribosomes, and cytosol since these are fundamental organelles necessary for basic cellular function. Plant and fungi cells, which are eukaryotic, also possess cell walls. Thus, the answer is "none of the other answer choices."

Example Question #6 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

A fungus is a member of which group?

Possible Answers:

Prokaryote

Archaea

Protist

None of these

Eukaryote

Correct answer:

Eukaryote

Explanation:

Like other eukaryotes, fungal cells contain a membrane bound nucleus with chromosomes. They also possess membrane bound cytoplasmic organelles such as ribosomes and mitochondria. A prokaryote is a single celled organism that lacks a membrane bound nucleus, mitochondria, or any other membrane bound organelles.  

Example Question #7 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following bacteria requires an oxygen-free environment?

Possible Answers:

Obligate anaerobe

Obligate aerobe

Facultative anaerobe

Facultative aerobe

Correct answer:

Obligate anaerobe

Explanation:

Obligate organisms require a certain environment in order to survive. Facultative organisms have a preference but can usually survive multiple environments. Therefore, a bacteria that requires an oxygen-free environment is an obligate anaerobe. Obligate anaerobes are microorganisms that are killed by normal atmospheric concentrations of oxygen.

Example Question #8 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following is an example of a prokaryote cell?

Possible Answers:

Mitochondria

Muscle cell in a human

Plant cell

Bacteria

Correct answer:

Bacteria

Explanation:

Bacteria are prokaryotes, not eukaryotes. Eukaryotes have membrane-bound organelles and an enclosed nucleus. “Mitochondria” is incorrect and it refers to an organelle in eukaryotes. Muscle cells in humans and plant cells are also eukaryotic cells.

Example Question #9 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

A special dye bonds chiefly to the DNA in cells and is used to help visualize DNA under the microscope. After preparing a microscope slide from human intestine epithelium and observing, a researcher notices that there are differences in the concentration of the dye in the cells on the slide; some dye spots are denser or more defined than in other cells. Which of the following represents the most logical conclusion?

Possible Answers:

Procedural error

The dye is unable to bond to any DNA due to residual stomach acids and collects unevenly

There are eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells in the sample

There could only be Prokaryotic cells in the sample and the unevenness in dye concentration is due to the differing cell density across the microscope slide

None of these

Correct answer:

There are eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells in the sample

Explanation:

Eukaryotes and prokaryotes are distinguished based on a structure called the nucleus. Eukaryotes have a nucleus, which houses their genetic material. Prokaryotes do not have a nucleus; instead their DNA is localized in an area (i.e. it is not membrane bound). So if the researcher were to stain a sample containing both types of cells, the eukaryotic cells would have darker, more defined stains within their cells. This would indicate the presence of a more compacted and localized DNA than that found in prokaryotes.

Example Question #10 : Understanding Prokaryotic Cell Differences

Which of the following is not a difference between eukaryotes and prokaryotes?

Possible Answers:

Prokaryotes do not have a cell membrane.

Prokaryotes have 70s ribosomes, whereas eukaryotes have 80s ribosomes.

Prokaryotes do not have membrane-bound organelles.

Prokaryotes have circular DNA.

Eukaryotic cell DNA is wrapped around histones.

Correct answer:

Prokaryotes do not have a cell membrane.

Explanation:

Both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells have cell membranes. However, the prokaryotic cell membrane is surrounded by a cell wall. Prokaryotes have circular DNA, whereas eukaryotic DNA is in chromosomes and bound by histone proteins. Prokaryotes do not have membrane-bound organelles (endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, chloroplasts, Golgi bodies, nucleus). Prokaryotic ribosomes are smaller (70s) than eukaryotic ribosomes (80s).

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