10-500 nm

Bacteria: 1,000 nm Animal: 200,000 nm Plant: 400,000 nm


Multiply only within cells; outside the cell they are metabolically inert; protein coat and nucleic acid separate prior to multiplication

Most are free-living and multiply in the absence of other cells; entire cell remains intact during multiplication

Nucleic Acid Content

Contain either DNA or RNA, but never both

Always contain both DNA and RNA

Enzyme Content

Contain very few, if any, enzymes

Contain many enzymes

Internal Components

Lack ribosomes and enzymes for harvesting energy

Contain ribosomes and enzymes for harvesting energy

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