Science: Building Blocks of Life: Differences between a Plant and an Animal Cell (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Differences between a Plant and an Animal Cell

Differences between a Plant and an Animal Cell
FeaturePlant cellAnimal cell
Size and ShapeLarger in size and rectangular in shape.Smaller in size and oval in shape.
Cell wallCell wall is made up of cellulose.Cell wall absent.
VacuolesVacuoles are large. In a mature plant cell, usually a single large central vacuole is present.Vacuoles are mostly absent or if present are small in size and scattered.
Golgi bodiesGolgi bodies are diffused in the plant cells and are called Dictyosome.Golgi bodies are well-developed and present near nucleus.
CentrosomeCentrosome and centrioles are absent.Centrosome and centrioles are present.
Plastids Storage of reserve foodPresent Reserve food is stored in the form of starch or oil.Absent Reserve food is stored in the form of glycogen.

Cell Division

The process by which weak cells torn out and new cells born as new covering is called cell division.

Types of Cell Division

There are two types of cell division.

  • Mitosis: In mitosis, a cell gives rise to two identical daughter cells. Mitosis is needed for growth, and repair of worn out parts.
  • Meiosis: Cell division involved in production of sex cells which give rise to the egg in female and sperm in male.


  • This is the process through which identical daughter cells are formed through replication and the original replication of chromosomes.
  • The daughter cells are identical to the parent cells in that, if the parent cell is diploid, then the daughter cell will be diploid as well.
  • During mitosis, the replicated chromosomes are positioned at the middle of the cytoplasm. They are segregated so that the daughter cells can get a copy of the original DNA.
  • This is made possible by the presence of microtubules (spindle fibers) , which pull the chromosomes into each of the cells.
Types of Cell: Mitosis


During the interphase period, the cell replicates its DNA (chromosomes) as it prepares for the division. Chromosomes at this stage are not easily visible since they are uncoiled.


  • This is the first phase in mitosis. The nuclear envelope also starts to dissolve. The chromosomes also starts coiling and spindle fibers start forming as centrosomes divide and start migrating to either side of the cell.
  • During the pro-metaphase, the nuclear envelope breaks down and the kinetochore microtubules appear to interact with polar microtubules of the spindle fibers.
  • This brings about the movement of the chromosomes.


At this stage, chromosomes, which consist of chromatids held together by the centromere start migrating to the equator of the spindle fibers. The chromosomes therefore become aligned on a plane as the kinetochore fibers attach to the spindle fibers.


This phase starts with separation of centromeres thus separating the chromatids hence doubling the number of chromosomes. The new chromosomes then begin moving towards the poles of the cells.


  • During telophase, chromosomes reach poles of their respective spindles. The nuclear membrane also starts to reappear, and chromosomes uncoil.
  • The spindle fibers also start breaking down and the cell divides in to two. The cells then start developing into different adults. This phase passes the two cells into the interphase stage.
  • During G1 interphase, the chromosomes have one chromatid. The chromosomes then replicates and each of them gets two sister chromatids.


  • Meiosis is involved in the production of sperm and eggs in individuals who can sexually reproduce. This process reduces chromosomes by half.
  • In this case, when a sperm fertilizes and egg, the zygote that results has a full set of chromosomes. A cell that undergoes meiosis therefore divides two times (meiosis 1 and meiosis 2) . The diploid (2n) parent cell results in 4 haploid (n) gametes.
  • Meiosis 1 is known as the reduction phase while meiosis 2 is the division phase. In meiosis, unlike in mitosis, two chromosomes in a homologous pair will line up next to each other (synapsis) . The resulting homologous pair is referred to as bivalent.

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