The key difference between coenocytic and heterotrichous is that coenocytic is that state of having multiple nuclei within the same cytoplasm due to multiple nuclear divisions without undergoing cytokinesis while heterotrichous is the differentiation of algae thallus into two types of systems as the prostrate system and erect system.
Living organisms contain different types of cells. Most of the cells are uni-nuclear. But some organisms possess cells that are multinucleate. Coenocytic is the state of having multiple nuclei within a single cell. Some fungi, plants, animals and algae contain coenocytic cells. Moreover, algae show a state called heterotrichous. The thallus of algae is generally differentiated into two distinct systems: the prostrate system, which grows on the substrate, and upright system, which grows away from the substrate.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Coenocytic
3. What is Heterotrichous
4. Similarities Between Coenocytic and Heterotrichous
5. Side by Side Comparison – Coenocytic vs Heterotrichous in Tabular Form
What is Coenocytic?
A coenocytic cell is a multinucleate cell that results from multiple nuclear divisions, without undergoing cytokinesis. These cells are present in different types of protists, such as algae, protozoa, slime molds, alveolates, etc. In algae, coenocytic cells are present in red algae, green algae and Xanthophyceae. The entire thallus of siphonous green algae is a single coenocytic cell.
In plants, the endosperm initiates its growth when one fertilized cell becomes a coenocyte. Different plant species produce many coenocytic cells with a different number of nuclei. Apart from plants, some filamentous fungi contain coenocytic mycelia with multiple nuclei. Those coenocytes functions as a single coordinated unit with multiple cells. Moreover, some animal cells are coenocytic.
What is Heterotrichous?
Heterotrichous is a type of plant body, especially an algae thallus that is differentiated into two different systems: a prostrate system and an erect system. The prostrate system grows on the substrate while erect system extends away from the substrate. Thus, when considering the whole thallus or plant body, one part is prostrate while the other part is upright. The prostrate system gives rise to numerous photosynthetic and rhizoidal filaments. The erect system develops from the prostrate system and has numerous photosynthetic branches.
In some algae, the prostrate branches are fully developed while in some algae, both systems are well developed. In green algae, heterotrichous habit is the most highly evolved type of habit. They possess two distinct parts in the thallus.
What are the Similarities Between Coenocytic and Heterotrichous?
- Algae show both coenocytic and heterotrichous nature.
- Both types are present in fungi as well.
What is the Difference Between Coenocytic and Heterotrichous?
Coenocytic is the state of having multiple nuclei in a cell. Meanwhile, heterotrichous is the state of having two distinct systems as the prostrate system and upright system in the thallus. So, this is the key difference between coenocytic and heterotrichous. Besides, coenocytic cells develop due to the multiple nuclear divisions without accompanying cytokinesis. Whereas, heterotrichous is an advanced type of algae that show a division of labour. Therefore, this is another difference between coenocytic and heterotrichous.
Moreover, coenocytic nature is shown by plants, animals, fungi and algae, while heterotrichous nature is shown mainly by algae.
Summary – Coenocytic vs Heterotrichous
Generally, a cell contains a single nucleus. However, due to some reasons, multinucleated cells can be developed in certain organisms. Coenocytic is the state of having multiple nuclei inside a single cell. It is a result of multiple nuclear divisions without undergoing cytokinesis. Meanwhile, heterotrichous is the state of having differentiated thallus composed of two systems as the prostrate system and upright system. It is an advanced character shown by algae. So, this is the summary of the difference between coenocytic and heterotrichous.
1. “Thallus Organisation in Algae: Botany.” Biology Discussion, 16 Sept. 2016, Available here.
2. “Coenocyte.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Dec. 2019, Available here.
1. “Coenocytic Tetrad” By Pbadhikari – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Image from page 83 of “The algae” (1962)” By Internet Archive Book Images (No known copyright restrictions) via Flickr
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