What is the Difference Between Kinetin and Zeatin

The main difference between kinetin and zeatin is that kinetin is a cytokinin-like, synthetic plant hormone, promoting cell division, whereas zeatin is a cytokinin, promoting lateral bud growth.   

Kinetin and zeatin are two cytokinins that are plant hormones. Cytokinins promote cell division in the shoot and root.  

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Kinetin
– Definition, Facts, Importance
2. What is Zeatin
– Definition, Facts, Importance
3. Similarities Between Kinetin and Zeatin
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Kinetin and Zeatin
– Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Kinetin, Zeatin

Difference Between Kinetin and Zeatin - Comparison Summary

What is Kinetin

Kinetin is a synthetic plant hormone that is cytokinin-type. Carlos O. Miller and Skoog first isolated the hormone. The primary function of kinetin is to induce cell division. It is often used in plant tissue culture to induce callus formation in the presence of auxin in the medium. Also, it generates shoot tissue from the callus. In the fast, it was believed that deoxyadenosine residues in DNA are the precursor of kinetin. They degrade standing for long periods. Therefore, kinetin does not occur naturally. But later, kinetin was discovered, occurring naturally in DNA in humans and plants. The production of kinetin in DNA occurs through the production of furfural, a product of oxidative DNA damage.

Compare Kinetin and Zeatin

Figure 1: Kinetin

Furthermore, plant tissue culture widely uses kinetin in producing new plants. Kinetin was first used in tissue culture in 1939 in Paris. Also, kinetin is one of the highly active forms of cytokinin that includes cell division. Other such cytokinin includes N6-isopentenyl adenine, trans-zeatin, and benzyl adenine.

What is Zeatin

Zeatin is another highly active cytokinin used in plant tissue culture. It is also derived from the adenine nucleotide. However, it occurs in the cis-form and the trans-form. The precursor of zeatin is 6-(γ,γ-Dimethylallylamino)purine. It occurs in the immature corn kernels of the genus Zea. Also, it occurs in many plant extracts, such as coconut milk. Zeatin is the active ingredient of coconut milk. Zeatin in coconut milk causes plant growth. The primary function of zeatin is to induce the formation of lateral buds. It induces cell division when the spraying of zeatin to the plant. It produces bushier growth.

Kinetin vs Zeatin

Figure 2: Trans-Zeatin

Furthermore, zeatin is a cytokinin, a plant hormone that promotes cell division or cytokinesis in shoots and roots. Therefore, it involves cell growth and differentiation. Also, it affects apical dominance, leaf senescence, and axillary bud growth. There are two types of cytokines: adenine-type cytokinins and phenyl-urea-type cytokinins. y kinetin, 6-benzyl amino purine, and zeatin are examples of adenine-type cytokinin, while diphenylurea and thidiazuron (TDZ) are phenyl-urea-type cytokinins. Mainly, roots synthesize adenine-type cytokinins. Cambium and other actively dividing tissues in plants produce cytokinin. However, plants do not produce phenyl-urea-type cytokinins.

Similarities Between Kinetin and Zeatin

  • Kinetin and zeatin are two plant hormones.
  • They are cytokinins.
  • They promote cell division in shoots and roots.
  • Both are derived from adenine nucleotides.

Difference Between Kinetin and Zeatin


Kinetin refers to a synthetic compound similar to kinin, used to stimulate cell division in plants, while zeatin refers to a plant growth hormone in the cytokinin family. 


Carlos O. Miller and Skoog discovered kinetin, while zeatin is discovered from immature corn kernels from the genus Zea


Furfural is the precursor of kinetin, while 6-(γ,γ-Dimethylallylamino)purine is the precursor of zeatin. 


Kinetin is a synthetic compound, while zeatin is a natural compound in plants.


Kinetin promotes cell division, while zeatin promotes cell division. 


In brief, kinetin and zeatin are two plant hormones. They are cytokinin type, and they promote cell division in plants. Kinetin is a synthetic compound. It promotes cell division in shoots and roots. In comparison, zeatin is a natural, cytokine-like plant hormone. It promotes lateral bud formation in plants allowing the growth of shoots. Therefore, the main difference between kinetin and zeatin is their nature.  

  1. Kinetin. Kinetin – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.)
  2. Wikimedia Foundation. (2023g, March 19). Zeatin. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeatin
Image Courtesy:
  1. Kinetin” By Azulene at English Wikipedia – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
  2. Trans-Zeatin Structural Formula V” By Ju – Own Work (CC-BY SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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