Difference Between Nucleus and Nucleoid

Table of Contents


Inside every living organism, there is an area that stores all the genetic material and controls cellular activities. In eukaryotes, this function is taken up by the nucleus, whereas in prokaryotes, the same is undertaken by the nucleoid.

Let us explore the difference between nuclei and nucleoids in detail.

Nucleus vs Nucleoid

The nucleus is the largest and the most important cell organelle in a eukaryotic cell. A nucleus is a membrane-bound organelle that houses the genetic material of eukaryotes. The nucleus consists of DNA packaged in chromatin fibres with proteins. Nucleoids contain the genetic material of prokaryotes in the cytoplasm. The nucleoids usually consist of a single chromosome.

Let us look at more differences between the nucleus and nucleoid in the table given below.


Nucleus Nucleoid
A nucleus is a membrane-bound structure in which eukaryotes assemble their genetic materials. Nucleoid is a particular area in which prokaryotes assemble their genetic materials.
A nucleus is well-organised and large. Nucleoid is poorly organised and small.
A nucleus is encircled by a double-layer membrane known as a nuclear membrane which separates the nucleus from other organelles. Nucleoid lacks a protective membrane.
A nucleus comprises several chromosomes. Nucleoid usually contains only one chromosome.
A nucleus is a spherically shaped organelle. Nucleoid is an irregularly shaped area.
Nucleoplasm and nucleolus are present in the nucleus. Nucleoplasm and nucleolus are not found in a nucleoid.

Nucleoid Meaning

By definition, a nucleoid is a region within a prokaryotic cell that contains most or all of the genetic material. This material is called a prokaryotic chromosome.

DNA is found in both the nucleus and nucleoid. And hence, the functions of the nucleus and nucleotide are almost the same. However, their structure and organisation differ in many ways.

Nucleus Meaning

Nucleus is the organelle found in the eukaryotic cell fully enclosed by the nuclear membrane. It contains a majority of the genetic material of the cell. The nucleus coordinates with the cell activities, including growth, metabolism, protein synthesis and reproduction.

Also Read: The Nucleus

These were the important difference between the nucleus and nucleoid. Explore other important topics, such as the structure of DNA, RNA, or any other related topics, by registering at BYJU’S.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a nucleoid?

A nucleoid is an irregularly shaped region in a prokaryotic cell that contains most of the genetic material. It is not enclosed by a membrane.


What is a nucleus?

A nucleus is an organelle enclosed by a membrane, found in a eukaryotic cell, and consists of the genetic material of the cell.


What are the important functions of a nucleus?

A nucleus performs two major functions:

  • Stores the hereditary material of the cell.
  • Coordinates cellular activities, including growth, reproduction, etc.

In what type of organisms are the nucleus and nucleoid found?

The nucleus is found in eukaryotic organisms, while nucleoids are found only in prokaryotes. These structures essentially contain genetic material, and DNA is found in both the nucleus and nucleoid.


How are the nucleus and nucleoid protected inside the cell?

The nucleus found inside eukaryotic cells is protected by the nuclear membrane. It separates the nucleus from other cellular components inside the cell. The nucleoid possesses no such protective membrane and is not separated from the other components of the prokaryotic cell.

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