What are the differences between animal and plant cells?
All living things are made up of cells. Cells are the basic unit of a living organism and where all life processes are carried out.
Animal cells and plant cells share the common components of a nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondria and a cell membrane.
Plant cells have three extra components, a vacuole, chloroplast and a cell wall.
Animals are made up of millions of cells. Animal cells have an irregular structure and are made up of four key parts:
- Nucleus – This contains genetic material (DNA), and controls the cell's activity.
- Cell membrane – A flexible layer that surrounds the cell and controls the substances that enter and exit.
- Cytoplasm – A jelly-like substance where the chemical reactions happen.
- Mitochondria – This is where energy is released from the food molecules.
Plants are also made up of millions of cells. Plant cells have a nucleus, cell membrane, cytoplasm and mitochondria too, but they also contain the following structures:
- Cell wall – A hard layer outside the cell membrane, containing cellulose to provide strength to the plant.
- Vacuole – A space inside the cell that is used to store substances and help the cell keep its shape.
- Chloroplasts – Structures that contain the green pigment chlorophyll, which are a key part of photosynthesis.
Activity - plant and animal cells
Plant and animal cells quiz
Test your knowledge on the difference between plant and animal cells with this quick quiz.
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