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Question Video: Distinguishing Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Genetic Material Biology

Regarding the genetic material of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, which of these statements is true? [A] Both eukaryotic DNA and prokaryotic DNA are circular. [B] Plasmids are mostly found in eukaryotes. [C] Prokaryotes cannot survive without plasmids. [D] None of the statements are correct.

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Video Transcript

Regarding the genetic material of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, which of these statements is true? (A) Both eukaryotic DNA and prokaryotic DNA are circular. (B) Plasmids are found mostly in eukaryotes. (C) Prokaryotes cannot survive without plasmids. (D) None of the statements are correct.

This question is asking us to compare the DNA in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, which are two of the major domains of life. Here’s a diagram that illustrates a prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell. Let’s go through some of the differences that we find in their DNA.

Probably the best known difference is that a eukaryotic cell contains a nucleus to house its chromosomal DNA, while the prokaryotic cell does not. In the prokaryote, there’s actually a nuclear region where the DNA is concentrated that’s called the nucleoid.

Another difference is that prokaryotes usually have a single circular chromosome compared to eukaryotes, which generally have multiple linear chromosomes. Because prokaryotes generally have a single chromosome, they are often haploid, while eukaryotes typically contain two or more copies of their chromosomes. So they’re generally diploid or higher.

In terms of compacting DNA, prokaryotes generally don’t use histones to compact their DNA, whereas eukaryotes do. Prokaryotes tend to have additional DNA apart from the chromosomal DNA that are called plasmids. These plasmids can contain extra genes that can help prokaryotes adapt to their environment. Eukaryotes generally don’t have plasmids, although there are some exceptions.

Now that we’ve gone through some of the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA, let’s look at our answer choices to see which one is true.

Answer choice (A) is false since eukaryotic DNA is generally linear and not circular like prokaryotic DNA. Answer choice (B) is also incorrect since plasmids are mostly found in prokaryotes and not in eukaryotes. Answer choice (C) is also incorrect. Plasmids help prokaryotes adapt to their environment with additional genes. And in some cases, these genes are necessary for survival. But generally, the chromosomal DNA is what is required for the prokaryote to survive.

Therefore, the correct option is given by answer choice (D). None of these statements are correct.

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