Domains of Life; Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic Cells

ID #1506

Just trying to make sure I have this right, I know it's a pretty simple concept... Most but not all prokaryotes lack membrane-bound organelles, while all eukaryotes do contain organelles. And all eukaryotes have a nucleus while all prokaryotes don't. If that's true, the most important point in separating prokaryotes and eukaryotes is the nucleus distinction, and not the organelle distinction because it doesn't apply to all cases, right?

It sounds like you've got this concept well in hand. The best evidence that the nucleus is the key difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is the words themselves. Taking prefixes and Greek translations into account, prokaryote means "without a nucleus" and eukaryote means "with a nucleus." And while you're right that there are exceptions to the rule, for purposes of MCB 150, we'll just simplify it a bit and say if you've got organelles in your cell, you're probably a eukaryote.

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