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Animal Cell and Plant Cell

Definition of Animal Cell and Plant Cell (Botany/Zoology)

Animal Cell and Plant Cell differ primarily by virtue of functional and structural considerations. Animal cells form the basis for life for humans and all forms of animals that include vertebrates and invertebrates alike. As they are eukaryotic cells – that means having both nuclei in their native forms as well as organelles attached by membrane – these animal cells don’t possess cell walls but instead rely on an internal network known as their cytoskeleton for shape maintenance and movement support.

Plant cells provide life to algae and plants alike. As eukaryotic cells with real nuclei and membrane-bound organelles such as chloroplasts that aid photosynthesis, plant cells serve as their main living component. Many cells possess huge central vacuoles storing water along with various substances.

What exactly are Animal Cells?

Animal cells are made up of eukaryotic cells and represent the primary living unit for all vertebrate animals (vertebrates as well as invertebrates), including humans. Animal cells can be distinguished from one another through having real nuclei with membrane-bound organelles like mitochondria, endoplasmic-reticulum Golgi apparatus, and Lysosomes present.

Animal cells do not possess walls like plant cells do; rather they contain cytoskeletons made up of microtubules, microfilaments, and intermediate filaments which give their shape, facilitate cell movement, and aid the division of cells. Animal cells tend to be smaller and less irregularly shaped than plant cells; additionally, they often possess specific structures like flagella or cilia that assist the movement of these organisms.

Animal Cells
Figure 01: Animal Cells

Animal cells perform many essential tasks that include uptaking nutrients, eliminating waste products, producing energy for energy use and signalling between cells in organs or tissues of all animals and signaling with each other to operate at full potential. Understanding animal cell biology has greatly expanded our knowledge about health in general as well as improving human life span and well-being.

What exactly are Plant Cells?

Plant cells are Eukaryotic cells, the main living entities for algae and plants. Plant cells differ from bacteria by having nuclei as well as organelles attached by membranes that reside inside of them such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum Golgi apparatus and Lysosomes.

One characteristic that sets plants apart is the existence of cell walls made out of cellulose that provide structural support and protect their cells. Plant cells also include chloroplasts for photosynthesis as well as large central vacuoles that store water, nutrients, and other elements.

Plant Cells
Figure 02: Plant Cells

Plants boast unique designs that include intricate structures called the cytoskeleton which includes microfilaments, microtubules and intermediate filaments that give cells their shape while supporting cell movement.

Plant cells perform many roles that include taking in nutrients and eliminating waste products as well as producing energy and signalling cells within their environment. Plant cell research has made significant strides forward our knowledge of cell biology as well as plant growth processes.

What are the Differences between Animal Cell and Plant Cell?

Structure Differences

  • Cell Wall: Cell walls made up of cellulose protect plant cells from their surroundings while animal cells don’t possess such protections.
  • Chloroplasts: Plant cells contain chloroplasts responsible for photosynthesis unlike animal cells. Vacuoles. Plant cells possess one or more large central vacuoles for storage purposes while animal cells generally feature smaller vacuoles with greater surface areas than found on plant cells.
  • Size and Shape: Cells of plants tend to be larger and have more regular forms than animals’ cells;  their sizes and shapes can still differ substantially.
    Animal cells lack centrosomes – structures which serve to coordinate cell division in plant cells – while plant cells do possess them.
  • Plant cells: communicate via tiny channels known as plasmodesmata that enable material transfer between adjacent cells whereas animal cells don’t directly link this way.
  • Lysosomes: Animal cells contain organelles known as lysosomes that break down waste materials and cell debris within them, similar to what plant cells may perform through vacuoles.

These structural differences illustrate the numerous roles both plant and animal cells serve within their respective bodies; from photosynthesis, support for plants, animal movement and communication; as well as photosynthesis themselves.

Functional Differences

There are distinct functional distinctions between plant and animal cells.

Here is what these variations look like:

  • Photosynthetic Cells: Plant cells contain chloroplasts which allow them to perform photosynthesis and produce their own food; in contrast, animal cells cannot do this and must acquire nutrition through other sources.
  • Cell Wall: Plant cells possess an outer cell wall composed of cellulose that serves to support structural support and provide protection for animals; in contrast, their bodies don’t possess this feature due to being held together via their cell cytoskeleton instead.
  • Storage Cells: In plants typically possess large central vacuoles which store water, ions and chemicals while animal cells use smaller vacuoles with limited numbers to store waste products or substances such as waste proteins and waste by-products.
  • Movement: Animal cells have many ways of moving around using flagella, cilia and other structures while plant cells tend to stay put.
    Mitosis, the process by which cells divide in animals, involves creating an opening between each pair of cell nuclei to allow mitotic division; for plant cells this involves producing furrows of cleavage; animal cells undergo cytokinesis that involves creating new cell structures from existing ones.
  • Hormone Production: Plant cells produce hormones such as auxins, gibberellins and cytokinins to regulate plant development and growth as well as that of animal cells. Animal cells also make numerous hormones which regulate physiological processes including growth, metabolism and reproduction.
  • Sensitivity to Environmental Factors: Cells of plants contain receptors which detect environmental elements like gravity and light; animal cells also possess receptors capable of responding to stimuli like neurotransmitters, hormones or sensory input.

Functional differences among species reflect their various adaptations that animal and plant cells have made in order to fulfill specific functions for each of their respective species.

Comparison chart

Here’s a comparison chart highlighting the main differences between animal and plant cells:

Feature Animal Cell Plant Cell
Cell Wall Absent Present (made of cellulose)
Chloroplasts Absent Present
Vacuoles Small and numerous One or more large central vacuoles
Shape and Size Irregular in shape and smaller in size Regular in shape and larger in size
Centrosomes Present Absent
Plasmodesmata Absent Present
Lysosomes Present Absent
Photosynthesis Cannot carry out photosynthesis Can carry out photosynthesis
Storage Small vacuoles for waste storage Large central vacuoles for water and nutrient storage
Movement Can move through flagella, cilia, and other structures Mostly immobile
Mitosis Forms a cleavage furrow Undergoes cytokinesis which involves the formation of a cell plate
Hormone production Produces a variety of hormones Produces plant-specific hormones
Sensitivity to the environment Responds to a variety of stimuli such as hormones, neurotransmitters, and sensory inputs Sensitive to environmental factors such as light and gravity

This comparison chart provides a quick overview of the main structural and functional differences between animal and plant cells.

Similarities: Animal Cell vs Plant Cell

Here are a few similarities between plant and animal cells:

  • Animal and plant cells alike have membranes covering them that act like the outer shell and regulates how substances enter or leave a cell.
  • Both plant and animal cells contain cytoskeletons which provide structural support and contribute to cell division and movement.
  • Plant and animal cells alike contain nuclei that contain DNA inside of each cell.
  • Plants and animals both contain mitochondria that produce energy through cell respiration to power their cells.
  • Plant and animal cells both possess endoplasmic-reticula that helps produce proteins as well as lipids.
  • Both plant and animal cells possess Golgi apparatuses which serve to organize packaging, sorting, proteins and lipids before transport.

These similarities reveal the foundational elements shared among cells from all species within the Eukaryotic family and serve to highlight essential features and functions essential to life.


Animal Cell and Plant Cell differ primarily by virtue of functional and structural considerations.

Structurally speaking, plant cells possess cells with walls made up of chloroplasts and cellulose connected by vacuoles; animal cells lack such walls but do have small vacuoles in central regions containing organelles called vacuoles; plant cells tend to have larger more regular shapes while animal ones vary widely in both size and shape; animal cells also contain centrosomes which connect centrosomes together while plant cells don’t. Plant cells also connect through their plasmodesmata while animal ones don’t.

Functionally, plant cells have the capability of photosynthesis and producing their own food while animal cells cannot. , plants possess huge central vacuoles for waste storage while animal cells contain smaller vacuoles for this same function. Animal cells move via cilia, flagella and other structures while plants generally remain dormant.

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