Similarities and Differences Between Animal and Plant Cells

Five similarities between plant and animal cells

Both types of cells are enveloped in a cellular membrane which regulates diffusion, osmosis, active transport, etc… between the cell and the extracellular space. Both types of cells have a nucleus which stores the hereditary information of the cell and controls cellular activity. Both types of cells contain a golgi complex which the cell uses as a dock where cellular products are modified, packaged, and prepared for their final destination. Both types of cells have bumps on their endoplasmic reticulum which are the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The RER is where cellular proteins are constructed. Both types of cells have a smooth endoplasmic reticulum which synthesizes other cellular products, such as lipids and carbohydrates.

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Three differences between plant and animal cells

 A plant cell has a cell wall, which maintains a plant cell’s rigidity, and a plasma membrane; whereas, an animal cell only has a plasma membrane. Plant cells are autotrophic, meaning that they can make organic food from inorganic stuff such as sunlight; however, animal cells are heterotrophic meaning that they cannot make food out of inorganic stuff. Lastly, plant cells have chloroplast which the plant cell uses to harness the energy of the sun; whereas, animal cells do not have chloroplasts.

Five internal structures of plant or animal cells

The nucleolus is where the cell makes ribosomes. Ribosomes can float in the cytosol or can be attached to the RER. They make proteins. The vacuole is where the trash goes (i.e. byproducts of cellular respiration). The cytoskeleton is mostly made up of microtubules and is kind of the bones or structure of the cell. Lysosomes contain enzymes that “digest” food (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids) within the cell.

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Pruitt, N. L., & Underwood, L. S. (2006). Bioinquiry: Making connections in biology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Checkpoint Topic

Review the Plants vs. Animals activity at and familiarize yourself with the different structures of plant and animal cells.

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