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Structural/functional differences: prokaryote and eukaryote

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Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells share many similar features, developed and fine-tuned through years of evolution. Interestingly, the majority of prokaryotic cells exist as simple unicellular organisms, and only on rare occasions can grow together in colonies or demonstrate any type of intercellular communication. Eukaryotic cells, however, form the bodies of multicellular organisms and regularly produce specialized cells and structures.

Identify and describe one or two structural and functional differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells that you believe contribute to the ability of eukaryotic cells to form the specialized cells and structures found in multicellular organisms. While there are several differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, please limit your answer to those structural and functional differences that will assist in the evolution of multicellularity.

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Solution Summary

This solution contains an effective and easy to understand explanation of basic structural and functional differences between these two major cell types. It describes the importance of an internal membrane system and increased size.

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The first significant difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells that I believe contributes to the ability of eukaryotic cells to form specialized cells and structures found in multicellular organisms is the internal membrane systems. The internal membrane system of eukaryotes gives them the compartmentalization ability that prokaryote cells just don't have. As a result, the cytoplasm is sub-divided into separate compartments which allows for specialized tasks to occur in different areas of the cell. Such a system allows for the ...

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