How Are Bacteria & Plant Cells Alike?

Since all forms of life on Earth share a common ancestor, they all are related. Consequently, many forms of life share some intriguing similarities. While, for example, plants and bacteria are very different, they are also similar in some ways.

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Bacteria share certain features with plants and animals.

Features

The most striking similarity between bacteria and plants is the universality of the genetic code. Genes in DNA are like coded recipes, in which each triplet of letters specifies a particular amino acid. With a few exceptions, the same triplets specify the same amino acids in bacteria and all other known organisms. With a few exceptions, all known organisms use the same 20 amino acids to form proteins. Although amino acids may exist in "right-handed" or "left-handed" versions, the amino acids used in proteins are all "left-handed."

Cell Walls

Plant cells and bacteria alike have cell walls, strong flexible layers surrounding their cell membranes that help to counteract osmotic pressure so the cell does not burst as water diffuses into it.

Considerations

The cell walls in bacteria and plants have a similar function, but they are made from different materials. Plant cell walls are primarily cellulose, while bacterial cell walls are formed from peptidoglycans.


John Brennan

Based in San Diego, John Brennan has been writing about science and the environment since 2006. His articles have appeared in "Plenty," "San Diego Reader," "Santa Barbara Independent" and "East Bay Monthly." Brennan holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.