Eukaryote

Definition

noun, plural: eukaryotes

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


Supplement

Organisms such as animals, plants, fungi, and protists are examples of eukaryotes 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 eukaryotes from the prokaryotes. The eukaryotes are also known for having cytoplasmic organelles apart from nucleus, such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and Golgi bodies. Eukaryotes 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: eukaryotic (adjective).

Compare: prokaryote.

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