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also pro·car·y·ote  (prō-kăr′ē-ōt′)
Any of various microorganisms of the domains Archaea and Bacteria, characterized by the absence of a distinct membrane-bound nucleus and membrane-bound organelles and by the simultaneous occurrence of DNA transcription and protein synthesis at the same site, in contrast to eukaryotes. Also called moneran.

[French procaryote : Greek pro-, before; see pro-2 + Greek karuōtos, having nuts (from karuon, nut; see karyo-).]

pro·kar′y·ot′ic (-ŏt′ĭk) adj.


(prəʊˈkærɪɒt) ,




(Biology) any organism having cells in each of which the genetic material is in a single DNA chain, not enclosed in a nucleus. Bacteria and archaeans are prokaryotes. Compare eukaryote
[from pro-2 + karyo- + -ote as in zygote]
prokaryotic, procaryotic adj


or pro•car•y•ote

(proʊˈkær iˌoʊt, -i ət)

any one-celled organism that lacks a distinct membrane-bound nucleus and has its genetic material in the form of a continuous strand forming loops or coils: characteristic of monerans. Compare eukaryote.
[taken as singular of New Latin Prokaryota, earlier Procaryotes (1925); see pro-2, eukaryote]
pro•kar`y•ot′ic (-ˈɒt ɪk) adj.


Any of a wide variety of one-celled organisms that lack a distinct cell nucleus or other structures bound by a membrane and that have DNA that is not organized into chromosomes. Prokaryotes reproduce asexually, are the most primitive and ancient known forms of life, and include the bacteria and blue-green algae. Prokaryotes are grouped as a separate kingdom in taxonomy. Also called moneran. Compare eukaryote. See Table at taxonomy.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.prokaryote - a unicellular organism having cells lacking membrane-bound nuclei; bacteria are the prime example but also included are blue-green algae and actinomycetes and mycoplasma
organism, being - a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
eucaryote, eukaryote - an organism with cells characteristic of all life forms except primitive microorganisms such as bacteria; i.e. an organism with `good' or membrane-bound nuclei in its cells
References in periodicals archive ?
Prokaryotic cells are defined by not having internal organelles (nuclei or mitochondria, among others) and by relying on anaerobic forms of metabolism.
The defining membrane-bound structure that sets eukaryotic cells apart from prokaryotic cells is the nucleus, or nuclear envelope, within which the genetic material is contained.
To study the difference in nucleotide sequences and amino acid sequences of ISG15 gene between wild and domestic animals, the present study used the sequences from cattle and sheep as the references to clone and analyze the cDNA sequence by RACE technique and in vitro expression in prokaryotic cells, which provides a basis for further studies on the differences in gene functions and disease resistance.
Resources that would be helpful in teaching this lesson include illustrations of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells as well as an illustration of the hindgut of a typical subterranean termite (Figure 1).