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Organisms that do not have cells with membrane bound organelles.

Use in clinical context

Prokaryotes include bacteria and viruses. The genomes of prokaryotes are organised differently to eukaryotes (mammals, birds, plants etc). Their genomes are not contained in a nucleus. Bacterial genomes are typically a single circular chromosome. Viral genomes are diverse; they can be RNA or DNA, double or single stranded and typically have only limited numbers of genes as they then make use of host cells to reproduce. Sequencing the genomes of prokaryotes that cause infectious diseases has become a powerful tool in the identification, control and treatment of outbreaks.

Last updated on 30th May, 2019