We explain what the eukaryotic cell is, how it originated, and the parts that compose it. Also, what are its features and functions.
Eukaryotic cells are known as those in whose cytoplasm a cell nucleus can be found that contains the genetic material (DNA), unlike prokaryotic cells, whose genetic material is dispersed in the cytoplasm.
The appearance of this type of cell is considered an important evolutionary step since it laid the foundations for the future complexity and variety of multicellular life, thus giving rise to the higher kingdoms ( Animalia, Plantae, fungi, and prostate ).
The living beings formed by eukaryotic cells are called eukaryotes.
The term eucariot a comes from a similar Greek word: Eukaryota, the union of eu- ("true"), and karyon ("nut, kernel"). Hence, the term would come to designate cells with a true nucleus, that is, with a nucleus distinguishable from the rest of the cellular content.
The emergence of eukaryotic cells occurred at some point in evolutionary cellular history when only much simpler and smaller prokaryotic unicellular organisms existed.
It is not known for sure how it happened or what motivated this leap towards cellular structural complexity, without which life had been reduced to single-celled colonies.
There are various theories. The most accepted proposes the origin of these cells in the symbiogenesis between two prokaryotes: a bacterium and archaea.
Both would have co-inhabited so closely that they ended up composing the same organism, with a higher level of complexity.
Eukaryotic organisms, whose cells have a defined cell nucleus —container of the genetic material of all living beings— comprise all the kingdoms of higher multicellular and unicellular beings : the animal, plant, fungal, and protist kingdoms.
This shows the gigantic biodiversity that the development of the cell nucleus allowed.
Mitochondria produce energy from respiration or photosynthesis.
The eukaryotic cell is made up of the following parts:
There are numerous types of eukaryotic cells but three are fundamentally distinguished: animals, plants, and fungi, each with minimal substantial differences:
This means that their behaviors are governed by the most elementary principles of life, which are to obtain the necessary food to produce energy and, eventually, allow the perpetuation of life through the creation of new individuals of the species.
Eukaryotic cells contain an organelle called mitochondria, essential for aerobic (air) metabolism.
Mostly they derive the energy required for the operation of cellular respiration, oxidizing carbohydrates essential or photosynthesis, in the case of plants, using the light sun and water to produce energy.
Eukaryotic cells are ancient, dating from 1400 to 1600 million years, according to the existing fossil record; however, prokaryotes came first and preceded them by several million years, dating from 3450 to 3700 million years according to the fossil record.
In the classification of life, there are not only kingdoms (animal, plant, fungi, protists, bacteria, and archaea) but two different domains in which it is grouped and which are precisely eukaryotes and prokaryotes.
In the first rank enter the first four groups and in the second the last two. This is how biology understands the various known ways of life today.
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