Microworld: Eukaryotes vs Prokaryotes

science, nurro, cat, microscope, microbiology

Microorganisms come in two cellular flavors – eukaryote and prokaryote. Let’s learn a little bit more about these building blocks of life and then let them duke it out in a head to head VS battle!


Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus, which stores the cell’s DNA, as well as other organelles enclosed by a plasma membrane. Organelles are just what they sound like – tiny organs for cells that each preform a specific function to help the cell stay alive and do its job.

Animals with eukaryotic cells can be unicellular or multicellular. Because they are complex and hold many different cell structures, eukaryotic cells are the bigger of the two cell types – 10-100µm in diameter.

Another characteristic of eukaryotic cells is their style of cell division and type of reproduction. Eukaryotes divide by mitosis, a form of cell division that produces two daughter cells with the same genetic component as the parent cell. They also use meiosis, a form of cell division in which diploid cells (cells containing 2 copies of each chromosome) produce daughter haploid cells (cells containing a single copy of each chromosome).

Plants, animals, fungi and algae all have eukaryotic cells.


Prokaryotes were the first living cells, and the parents of eukaryotes, which evolved from them around 2.7 billion years ago.

Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms that lack membrane-bound structures. They do not have a defined nucleus but rather a nucleoid region that contains their DNA. While eukaryotic cells are generally large and complex, prokaryotic cells are small and simple, only 0.2-2.0 µm in diameter.

Prokaryotes replicate asexually, unlike eukaryotes, with a process called binary fission. During this process a single DNA molecule first replicates, then attaches each copy to a different part of the cell membrane. When the cell begins to pull apart, the two chromosomes are separated. This replication process results in cells that are genetically identical, save for random mutations.

Bacteria and archaea are the two types of prokaryotes.

Now that you’ve learned a little more about the two cell types, it’s time to pick a side? Will it be the original flavor, or the new, upgraded version of life?

Choose your team and we’ll soon find out! The competition starts at 11:00 AM ET on 5/24 and goes for 48 hours!

Swag (made possible by generous donations from Eyewirer @susi): The top scoring player on the winning team wins their choice of tote bag or t-shirt! Also, among the top 50% of players on the winning team, 1 player will be raffled their choice of face mask or notebook, and 3 more players will be raffled a magnet.

Starting Lineup – top 3 players on each team, who earn 75% of their score in bonus points
All Other Players – earn 50% of their score in bonus points
Winning Team – 20,000 additional points
Each Team’s MVP – 5,000 additional points
(The winning team is determined by average points per player, with 2x weight given to Starting Lineup players. To qualify for any of the above bonuses or affect the team score, players must earn a minimum baseline of 2,000 points.)