Defining characteristics of eukaryotic cells

Topic: Membrane Bound Organelles And Defining Characteristics Of Eukaryotic Cells

What are the defining characteristics of eukaryotic cells?

  1. A membrane-bound nucleus, a central cavity surrounded by membrane that houses the cell’s genetic material.
  2. A number of membrane-bound organelles, compartments with specialized functions that float in the cytosol.
  3. Mitotic division which results in two daughter cells each having the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent cell.


Practice Questions


Khan Academy


MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

Biology Question Pack, Vol. 1 Question 40

Biology Question Pack, Vol 2. Passage 8 Question 50


Key Point

• Eukaryotic cells have a membrane bound nucleus and organelles, as well as undergo mitotic division.

Key Terms

Nucleus: membrane housing genetic material

Organelles: membrane-bound compartments with specialized functions

Mitotic division: cell division resulting in two daughter cells each having the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent cell

Membranebound: organelles, meaning that these organelles (e.g. mitochondria, lysosome, etc.) are surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer

Eukaryotic: are organisms whose cells have a nucleus enclosed within membranes

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