Although animal and plant cells do have some similarities (both are eukaryotic, containing a true nucleus), they differ in several ways:
1. Cell Walls: Plant cells have cell walls that contain cellulose, while animal cells do not. This is necessary because a plant cell needs to be able to accept high amounts of water, and cellulose allows this to happen (through the process of osmosis) without the cell bursting from too much pressure. Too much water filling an animal cell will allow it to pop.
2. Photosynthesis: Plant cells go through the process of photosynthesis, converting sunlight into food. This is done by chloroplasts, which plant cells have and animal cells do not.
3. The Vacuole: Plant cells contain one large vacuole, which takes up most space in the cell’s cytoplasm (liquid within the cell). The vacuole contains nutrients, water, and waste materials which can be used or secreted when needed. Animal cells do not have a single vacuole, but rather small numerous ones that vary in appearance.
These are the three main ways animal and plant cells differ from one another, but there are more complex ways. To see a more detailed chart, you can go here: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Animal_Cell_vs_Plant_Cell
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