Difference Between Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic DNA

Table of Contents

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid is the hereditary material present in all organisms. It is located within the nucleus of a cell and contains the instructions an organism needs to develop.

It is a double-stranded, helical structure composed of 4 nucleotide bases, purines (Adenine and Guanine) and pyrimidines (Thymine and Cytosine). The DNA strands are anti-parallel.

The structure and chemical composition of the DNA in both the eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells are different. The prokaryotic cells have no nucleus, no organelles and a very small amount of DNA. On the other hand, the eukaryotic cells have nuclei and cell organelles, and the amount of DNA present is large.

Also Read: Cell Organelles

The below table gives a better understanding of the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic DNA.

Prokaryotic DNA vs Eukaryotic DNA

Prokaryotic DNA Eukaryotic DNA
Found freely in the central portion of the cytoplasm. Found within the nucleus.
Occurs as a covalent closed circular form of DNA. Occurs as a linear form of DNA with two ends.
The size of the DNA is less than 0.1 pg in a prokaryote. The size of the DNA is high, usually more than 1 pg.
Introns are absent in the coding region of DNA. Introns are present in the coding region of DNA.
There is no formation of nucleosomes. There is a formation of nucleosomes.
Quantity of the DNA
The quantity of DNA is comparatively less. The quantity of the DNA is more.
DNA Replication
DNA replication occurs in the cytoplasm of the cell. DNA replication occurs within the nucleus of the cell.
Number of Genes
Prokaryotic DNA contains a small number of genes. Eukaryotic DNA contains a large number of genes.
Prokaryotic DNA lacks transposons. Eukaryotic DNA consists of transposons.
Number of Chromosomes
Prokaryotic DNA is organized into a single chromosome. Eukaryotic DNA is organized into many chromosomes.
Histone Proteins
Do not interact with the histone proteins. Associated with the histone proteins.

Prokaryotic DNA

The prokaryotic DNA is smaller and circular and is found in the cytoplasm. The DNA is naked and is not surrounded by proteins. The genome is compact and contains repetitive DNA without any introns.

Eukaryotic DNA

Eukaryotic DNA is large and linear, present inside the nucleus. It is bound to histone proteins. A large amount of repetitive DNA is found in the genome. The eukaryotic DNA also contains introns.

Also Read: Difference between Exons and Introns

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA,  and other related topics at BYJU’S Biology.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is prokaryotic DNA?

The genetic material of the prokaryotic DNA is in the form of circular DNA. The DNA is present in the nucleoid, which is not surrounded by the nuclear membrane.


Does prokaryotic DNA have introns?

Prokaryotic DNA does not have introns. They have transcription coupled with translation. Therefore, there is no space for intron splicing since intron splicing stops the coupling.


How is the structure of eukaryotic DNA different from prokaryotic DNA?

Prokaryotic DNA is a closed circular structure, whereas eukaryotic DNA is linear.


Where are the prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA found?

The prokaryotic DNA is found in a coiled loop floating in the cytoplasm, whereas the eukaryotic DNA is found inside the nucleus.

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