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


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).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.