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Prokaryotic refers to the type of cellular organization found in organisms that have cells lacking a membrane-bound nucleus and membrane-bound organelles. Prokaryotic cells are simpler in structure compared to eukaryotic cells, which have a distinct nucleus and various internal compartments. The term “prokaryotic” is derived from the Greek words “pro,” meaning before or primitive, and “karyon,” meaning nucleus.

In prokaryotic cells, the genetic material is not enclosed within a nucleus but is instead found in a region of the cell called the nucleoid. Prokaryotic cells also lack many of the membrane-bound organelles, such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, that are characteristic of eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic organisms include bacteria and archaea, and as a group are called prokaryotes. These simple, single-celled organisms have been successful in a wide range of environments due to their adaptability and ability to carry out essential functions without the complex cellular structures found in eukaryotes.