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Biological diversity: which organisms are related to prokaryotes?

What organisms are related to prokaryotes? Prokaryotes are amazing and diverse creatures. They can live in almost any habitat, create and receive life energy in various ways, and some of them even are predators.

Prokaryotes: general information

What organisms are related to prokaryotes? These are the most numerous organisms inhabiting the planet Earth. The current classification of prokaryote species is based on a combination of genomic and phenotypic properties. The number of known species of prokaryotes currently exceeds 6200. These organisms appeared on Earth before all and continue to exist safely at the present time.

Interesting facts and a brief description of prokaryotes

1) Prokaryotes live wherever there is life, and, it would seem, life can not be, because these organisms can survive in a cold, hot, acidic and alkaline environment.

2) Prokaryotes were even found at a depth of about 3 km below the Earth's surface.

3) Most prokaryotes are diverse unicellular organisms with excellent adaptive capacity.

4) Many individuals are mobile, about half of all prokaryotes are capable of directional movement.

5) Prokaryotic cells are more simple than in eukaryotes, both in internal structure and in genomic organization.

6) Populations of prokaryotes grow and adapt quickly.

7) Under favorable conditions, a single cell is capable of producing a huge colony of offspring in a relatively short time.

8) Researchers regularly freeze the samples of colonies in order to conduct additional experiments after defrosting and continue to study the characteristics of these living creatures.

Nutritional adaptation

With a detailed consideration of the question of which organisms are related to prokaryotes, an important place is taken by the method of obtaining food. Thus, organisms that receive energy from light are phototrophs, as a result of chemical reactions - by hemotrophs. Organisms that only need carbon dioxide (CO2) as a carbon source are autotrophs. Living organisms that require at least one source of organic nutrient (glucose) are heterotrophs.

Photoautotrophs are photosynthetic organisms that use light energy to stimulate the synthesis of organic compounds from carbon dioxide (plants and algae). Chemotrophs only need carbon dioxide as a carbon source, but they can also get energy by oxidizing inorganic substances (hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S), ammonia (NH 3 ) and iron ions (Fe 2+ )). This food method is unique for prokaryotes.


As for the habitat of prokaryotes, it can be the most diverse. Many features of prokaryotes are due to the fact that these microorganisms are able to survive in the most extreme conditions: increased salinity, extremely high temperatures, places deprived of oxygen. Prokaryotes can live in the body of animals and people, helping the host through symbiosis to perform the functions of his body (digestion).

Nutrition prokaryotes are obtained from a variety of sources. This can be the search for dead cells or hunting for the living (very rarely). The most common method of obtaining the necessary nutrients is the creation of energy through photosynthesis or the use of other minerals, for example, sulfur.

Types and structure of prokaryotes

What organisms are related to prokaryotes? There are two main types: bacteria and unicellular organisms. Prokaryotic cells include the plasma membrane, cytoplasm, ribosomes and genetic material (DNA and RNA). Some species also have additional structures - the cell wall, flagella and others. The structure of prokaryotic cells, each of the structures and cellular components play a crucial role in growth, survival and reproduction.

Plasma membrane

Prokaryotic cells can have multilayer plasma membranes. Prokaryotes, known as gram-negative bacteria, for example, often have two plasma membranes, between which is the so-called periplasm. As in all cells, the plasma membrane in prokaryotic cells is responsible for controlling and controlling everything that is part of the cell.

Through the membrane, communication takes place, including sending and receiving chemical signals from other bacteria and interacting with cells of eukaryotic organisms during infectious processes. It should be borne in mind that the plasma membrane is universal for both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.


The cytoplasm in prokaryotic cells, resembling a gel or jelly, is a liquid substance in which all other cellular components are located. Recently, biologists have discovered that prokaryotic cells have a complex and functional cytoskeleton, similar to that of eukaryotic cells. Thus, the cell can maintain its shape.


Prokaryotic ribosomes are smaller and have a slightly different shape and composition than those found in eukaryotic cells. The functions of this cellular component are also identical: the construction of proteins and the transmission of signals that DNA sends.

Genetic material

All prokaryotic cells contain a large amount of genetic material in the form of DNA and RNA. Prokaryotes include organisms whose cells do not have a nucleus, the only large round section of DNA containing most of the genes necessary for growth, survival and reproduction of cells. DNA in such cells is presented in a chaotic sequence.

As a rule, DNA extends all over the cell in order to be decoded into RNA and transformed. In the microscope, one can see the condensation in a certain part of the cell, this is the genetic material (DNA). In addition to the only large part of the chromosomal DNA, many prokaryotic cells also contain small parts of DNA called plasmids. These round DNA rings are copied independently of the chromosome and can be transferred from one prokaryotic cell to another.

Due to their peculiarities prokaryotes can safely survive in any conditions, they are everywhere - as in the usual environment, and in salty lakes, hot springs, in craters of volcanoes and deep in the depths of the Earth. Thus, to prokaryotes belong the most persistent and viable organisms on the planet.

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