Compare and contrast plant and animal cells.

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Similarities:

  • Both plant and animal cells have a nucleus and specialized organelles like a mitochondria, lysosomes, and a golgi apparatus.
  • Plant and animal cells both have cell membranes.

Differences:

  • Only plant cells have a cell wall. The cell wall is made up of cellulose and provides the plant cell with structural support and protection. This allows some plants to have more rigid structures—think wood trunks.
  • Only plant cells have vacuoles, compartments that hold water and other molecules and allow plant cells to shrink or expand. Vacuoles can fill up to 90% of the cell. Plant cells have the capacity to be much larger than animal cells.
  • Only plant cells have chloroplasts, which convert sunlight into energy for the cell to function. In animal cells, the mitochondria performs this task by converting food to energy.
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