Question Video: Defining the Term “Eukaryotic” | Nagwa Question Video: Defining the Term “Eukaryotic” | Nagwa

Question Video: Defining the Term “Eukaryotic” Biology

Organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae are eukaryotic. Which of the following best explains what this means? [A] Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in a single circular chromosome. [B] Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in plasmids. [C] Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in the cytoplasm. [D] Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in a membrane-bound nucleus.

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Video Transcript

Organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae are eukaryotic. Which of the following best explains what this means? (A) Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in a single circular chromosome. (B) Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in plasmids. (C) Their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in the cytoplasm. Or (D) their cells contain the majority of their genetic material in a membrane-bound nucleus.

In this question, we are being asked about eukaryotic organisms. So, to answer this question correctly, let’s review the key points about eukaryotes.

There is an incredibly diverse range of living organisms on Earth. To make it easier to study these organisms, they can be classified into kingdoms, a process known as taxonomy, from the Greek word “taxis,” meaning order.

In 1969, a scientist called Whittaker proposed a classification system made up of five kingdoms, which he called Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia. All organisms in the kingdom Monera are prokaryotes. The organisms in the other four kingdoms are eukaryotes. So what is the difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes?

Let’s start with prokaryotic organisms, which are all single-celled organisms. If we break down the name, we can see that pro- means before and “kary” means kernel or nucleus. So “prokaryotic” means before a nucleus. A prokaryote does not have any membrane-bound organelles, which means they have no nucleus. You may then wonder where the genetic material is found. Well, it is mainly found in a single circular chromosome. There are also much smaller circles of genetic material called plasmids.

Eukaryotes, on the other hand, are made up of cells containing membrane-bound organelles. This includes the membrane-bound nucleus, in which the majority of the organism’s genetic material is stored. If we again split up the name, the prefix eu- means true. So “eukaryote” means true nucleus.

We can now return to the question. We have seen that prokaryotes store their genetic material as a single circular chromosome and small plasmids. So we can rule out options (A) and (B). We also learnt that all organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae are eukaryotes, the name meaning true nucleus. This means we know that the correct answer to the question is (D). Eukaryotic cells contain the majority of their genetic material in a membrane-bound nucleus.

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