We yesterday got our biology-exams back and there's one exercise where I don't agree with my teacher. However, since he is the expert and not me, I need the support of external sources, i.e. experts in order to justify my statement.

Now in the exercise, we first had to identify the parts of a cell (which was shown in form of an image) and then in part b) reason whether it was an animal or plant cell.

I had identified a chloroplast and a vacuole and stated that the only cell with this organelles was the plant cell. My teacher answered that I had missed the fact, that the cell had also a cell wall (which is indeed a difference between plant and animal cells).

My question is

Is the fact that the cell had a cell wall necessary in my argumentation, i.e. are there other cells having chloroplasts and a vacuole without being a plant cell?

Could you provide a source which supports, or doesn't support my statement so that I can show it to my teacher?

Thanks in advance


1 Answer 1


Your teacher is right, chloroplasts and vacuoles are not sufficient to define a plant cell.

Amoeba have both chloroplasts (McFadden et al, PNAS, 1994) and vacuoles (Day, J. Morphology, 1927) but they are not plants - and they do not have a cell wall.

Sea slugs eat algae and can "steal" their plastids and keep them working for weeks/months, effectively becoming photosynthetic animals for a while. This is called kleptoplastidy (Pillet, Mob. Genet. Elements, 2013).


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