Prokaryotic cells or prokaryotes are a type of cells that lack membrane-bound organelles such as a cell nucleus which differentiate them from their eukaryotic counterpart.
According to the book Biology by Neil Campbell and Jane Reece, in addition, instead of a chromosomal DNA, the prokaryotes genetic information is found inside plasmids, which are basically characterized as circular loops. Moreover, prokaryotic cells have three shapes: rod, spherical and spiral. Unlike eukaryotes, prokaryotes divide or replicate through a simple process called binary fission.
Based on the book, binary fission is basically a form of asexual reproduction in unicellular organisms such as several prokaryotes in which one cell divides into two cells of the similar size. In other words, the process ultimately results in the replication of original, mother cell, into two identical daughter cells.
The process begins with DNA replication. In this stage of the process, each of the mother cell’s double stranded DNA is separated and forms a circular structure. Each strand basically serves as a pattern for daughter strand synthesis through semi-conservative replication, which is a process of DNA replication to all known cells. This process continues until all the cell’s DNA strands have been separated and replicated (Campbell and Reece, 2004).
Afterwards, each circular structure attaches to the plasma membrane, which is basically the outer layer of the cell. Near the attachment site, the cell elongates and this causes the two duplicated chromosomes to separate (Campbell and Reece, 2004).
At this stage, the plasma membrane invaginates or pinches or grows inwards and divides the cell into two identical daughter cells which is a process called cytokinesis. These cells are usually not identical to their mother cells (Campbell and Reece, 2004).
In addition, organisms, such as bacteria, who divide through binary fission, increase in numbers very rapidly. As long as there are adequate nutrients as well as optimum temperature conditions, an organism through binary fission, can multiply into billions in a short period of time (Campbell and Reece, 2004).
Moreover, due to the fact that the DNA of bacteria has a high mutation rate the two identical daughter cells produced after binary fission greatly differs from the mother cell and enables the bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance.
As a result, the bacteria’s rapid reproduction, mutation and increased antibiotic resistance make it more effective in invading the environment and causing pathological diseases.
Campbell, N. A. and Reece, J. B. (2004). Biology. Benjamin Cummings.