Are Chromosomes Prokaryotic? : 5 Facts You Should Know

In this article, we will discuss; Are chromosomes prokaryotic? And five facts regarding that.

Yes, depending on the cell type, chromosomes can be either prokaryotic or eukaryotic. A single or mono chromosome is circular and commonly found in prokaryotic cells. The nucleoid is located in the cytoplasm, where this specific chromosome is found.

Also, a single chromosome and plasmids typically make up the prokaryotic genome. Prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) generally have much bigger genomes than the actual cell.Prokaryotic cells can multiply more quickly than eukaryotic cells because they usually only have one chromosome.

Additionally, unlike eukaryotes, prokaryotes lack a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles. Prokaryotes are known to be the before nucleus-type organisms, making the lack of a nucleus obvious. Therefore, in prokaryotes, the chromosome is retained in a special region known as the nucleoid.

Prokaryotic cell showing chromosome as are chromosomes prokaryotic?
Prokaryotic cell showing chromosome – shutterstock

Can chromosomes be prokaryotic?

Yes, chromosomes can be prokaryotic since prokaryotic cells only have one chromosome in contrast to eukaryotic cells. The prokaryotic chromosome is a single, circular chromosome located in the nucleoid of prokaryotic cells. There are no membrane-bound prokaryotic cell organelles in the nucleoid, which is contained in the cytoplasm yet still stores their genetic material.

The gene, which is genetically haploid and only found in one copy, is intact. Additionally, the non-essential genes are contained outside of the chromosome in the prokaryotic cells’ plasmids. Since prokaryotic cells don’t have a nuclear membrane, transcription and translation take place in the same spot on the prokaryotic chromosome. 

A limited portion of non-essential genes is carried by plasmids, transcribed separately from chromosomes inside cells. It can distribute genes favorable for survival to other prokaryotes in a group through transmission. However, most prokaryotes are haploid, meaning that only one copy of each genome is expressed, and they reproduce asexually.

Prokaryotic cell having chromosome as are chromosomes prokaryotic
Prokaryotic cell having chromosome – shutterstock

Do prokaryotes have chromosomes?

Yes, prokaryotes do have chromosomes in their cells. In the nucleoid, a region in the cytoplasm, they have a single chromosome that stores all of the specific genetic material. Most prokaryotes only have one chromosome, but research suggests that certain prokaryotes have four chromosomes in a single prokaryotic cell.

The prokaryotic cell may have one chromosome or as many as four, but they are all structured in a circular or linear shape. Furthermore, a prokaryotic cell does not have a nuclear membrane or membrane-bound structures to safeguard its single or four chromosomes.

Its efficient, condensed, and sparsely repeated DNA makes up prokaryotic chromosomes. The singleton chromosome replicates itself again into a new chromosome with a haploid chromosome in these DNA molecules, which have the same genetic material as the mother cell. Since genes are distinct from one another and each occupies a specific region of duplex DNA, genetic material is quantal.

Where are prokaryotic chromosomes found?

The nucleoid, a region of the prokaryotic cell’s cytoplasm, is where prokaryotic chromosomes are stored. Most of the entire genetic material, also known as the genophore, is commonly found in this region of the prokaryotic cell. The portion of a prokaryotic cell with an asymmetrical shape up the nucleoid region contains the DNA.

The nucleoid is always compressed in order to accommodate because its length is much bigger than the rest of the cell. To further understand how chromosomal DNA generates the nucleoid, the processes involved, the structure it forms, and how specific DNA physical characteristics determine the gene expression, E. coli is a perfect organism, for example.

Prokaryotic cell showing nucleoid as are chromosomes prokaryotic
Prokaryotic cell showing nucleoid – shutterstock

How many chromosomes do prokaryotes have?

A single prokaryotic cell does have a nucleoid, but it does not exactly have a true helical DNA in a true nucleus. Therefore, all necessary genes are primarily found on a single chromosome. However, there are a few instances where necessary genes are distributed throughout two or more chromosomes, sometimes even four.

Inside the prokaryotic cell, these chromosomes are organized in either circular or linear forms. The circular form is more usual, while Streptomyces displays an unusual linear pattern arrangement. The prokaryotic chromosome organization principles permit many exclusions of the contrary type, which indicates that a distinct type of selection is used to sustain the duality at the chromosomal level.

Outside the nucleoid, in the shape of a circle known as a plasmid, lies an additional circular double-stranded DNA chromosome. Moreover, prokaryotic DNAs replicated by plasmids but do not include necessary genes can be quite big, even reaching exceeding sizes.

What type of chromosome does prokaryotic have?

Single-celled microorganisms known as prokaryotes are observed in the domains of bacteria and archaea species, two of the three main life domains. Therefore, prokaryotes have a specific type of circular chromosome. It might also comprise plasmids, which are more compact circular DNA fragments.

Cellular components having chromosomes as the main component enable traits to be passed down through generations during replication. Most eukaryotic cells with a well-organized nuclear nucleus contain true chromosomes. However, it is more likely that these chromosomes will form a circular structure inside the nucleoid, which is mostly present in the cytoplasm when they are observed in prokaryotes.

According to some studies, many prokaryotic cells have chromosomes shaped like a sphere, spiral, or rod, depending on the type of microorganism they belong to. Also, as prokaryotes only have one chromosome per cell, just one copy of their genetic material is replicated during the subsequent stage of cell regeneration.


Prokaryotes, which are classified as haploid since each of its cells only have one chromosome, are found in the domains of bacteria and archaea. The circular form of these prokaryotic chromosomes can also change depending on the type of microorganism. Also, prokaryotes maintain their DNA bare because it doesn’t have a true nucleus. 

Roshny Batu

Hey! I'm Roshny Batu. I got a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany. In the domain of academic writing, I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the Lambdageeks family as an SME in Bio-Technology. Apart from that, I love designing interiors, painting, and mastering makeup artist skills.

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