What is the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA replication?


Quick Answer

There are many significant differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA replication. One such difference is the complexity of the replication process of eukaryotic cells in comparison to the relative simplicity of the replication process in prokaryotic cells. Another huge difference is the speed at which replication takes place.

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Full Answer

Because prokaryotic cells have a simpler structure than eukaryotic cells, the DNA replication process for prokaryotic cells is much simpler. For one, prokaryotic cells have no nucleus where the genetic material is found. Replication occurs in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells as opposed to replication occurring in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells.

The origin of replication in prokaryotic cells is limited to one place, while there are over 1,000 origins in eukaryotic cells. In prokaryotic cells, replication occurs one point at a time, while eukaryotic replication occurs at all these origin points simultaneously. Going along with this, prokaryotic cells have only one replication fork while eukaryotic cells have many replication forks. The chromosomes of prokaryotic cells have no chromatin, which makes up the bulk of the chromosomes in eukaryotic cells.

Finally, prokaryotic replication is fast while eukaryotic replication is slow. This speed at which prokaryotic cells replicate is seen with the rapid growth of bacteria.

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