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noun, plural: eucaryotes

Any of the single-celled or multicellular organisms whose cell contains a distinct, membrane-bound nucleus.


Organisms such as animals, plants, fungi, and protists are examples of eucaryotes because their cells are organized into compartmentalized structures called organelles, the nucleus in particular. The presence of a distinct nucleus encased within membranes differentiates the eucaryotes from the prokaryotes. The eucaryotes are also known for having cytoplasmic organelles apart from nucleus, such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and Golgi bodies. Eucaryotes often have unique flagella made of microtubules in a 9+2 arrangement.

Word origin: Greek eu- (good-, well-, true) + káry(on) (nut, kernel).

Related forms: eucaryotic (adjective).

Compare: procaryote.

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