According to the College of DuPage, any of the various cells that make up plants, animals, fungi and protists are eukaryotic. This includes the skin cells of humans or the xylem cells of trees. Eukaryotic cells are more evolutionarily advanced than prokaryotic cells, as eukaryotes typically contain a membrane-bound nucleus, which prokaryotes lack. Additionally, eukaryotic cells possess many distinct organelles, which prokaryotic cells lack.
According to Georgia State University, the basal split in the evolutionary tree of life occurred when eukaryotic cells arose. Bacteria and archaebacteria are prokaryotic organisms, while all living organisms that are more advanced than this are eukaryotic. Some of the advances seen in the evolution of eukaryotic organisms include linear, rather than circular, DNA and the development of numerous organelles within the cytoplasm of the cell. The linear DNA of eukaryotic cells is found primarily in the nucleus. Eukaryotic cells feature a number of internal organelles, each of which carries out a distinct function. For example, the mitochondria produce energy for the cell.
According to About.com, mitochondria have many characteristics that make them similar to prokaryotic cells. Mitochondria have their own DNA, which is arranged in circular fashion, similarly to most prokaryotes. In addition to providing power for the cell, mitochondria play a role in cell division, growth and death.