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Illustration shows a eukaryotic cell, which has a membrane-bound nucleus containing chromatin and a nucleolus, and a prokaryotic cell, which has DNA contained in an area of the cytoplasm called the nucleoid. The prokaryotic cell is much smaller than the eukaryotic cell.
A eukaryote contains a well-defined nucleus, whereas in prokaryotes, the chromosome lies in the cytoplasm in an area called the nucleoid.

The size of the genome in one of the most well-studied prokaryotes, Escherichia coli, is 4.6 million base pairs, which would extend a distance of about 1.6 mm if stretched out. So how does this fit inside a small bacterial cell? The DNA is twisted beyond the double helix in what is known as supercoiling. Some proteins are known to be involved in the supercoiling; other proteins and enzymes help in maintaining the supercoiled structure.

Eukaryotes, whose chromosomes each consist of a linear DNA molecule, employ a different type of packing strategy to fit their DNA inside the nucleus ( [link] ). At the most basic level, DNA is wrapped around proteins known as histones to form structures called nucleosomes. The DNA is wrapped tightly around the histone core. This nucleosome is linked to the next one by a short strand of DNA that is free of histones. This is also known as the “beads on a string” structure; the nucleosomes are the “beads” and the short lengths of DNA between them are the “string.” The nucleosomes, with their DNA coiled around them, stack compactly onto each other to form a 30-nm–wide fiber. This fiber is further coiled into a thicker and more compact structure. At the metaphase stage of mitosis, when the chromosomes are lined up in the center of the cell, the chromosomes are at their most compacted. They are approximately 700 nm in width, and are found in association with scaffold proteins.

In interphase, the phase of the cell cycle between mitoses at which the chromosomes are decondensed, eukaryotic chromosomes have two distinct regions that can be distinguished by staining. There is a tightly packaged region that stains darkly, and a less dense region. The darkly staining regions usually contain genes that are not active, and are found in the regions of the centromere and telomeres. The lightly staining regions usually contain genes that are active, with DNA packaged around nucleosomes but not further compacted.

Illustration shows levels of organization of eukaryotic chromosomes, starting with the DNA double helix, which wraps around histone proteins. The entire DNA molecule wraps around many clusters of histone proteins, forming a structure that looks like beads on a string. The chromatin is further condensed by wrapping around a protein core. The result is a compact chromosome, shown in duplicated form.
These figures illustrate the compaction of the eukaryotic chromosome.

Concept in action

Watch this animation of DNA packaging.

Section summary

The model of the double-helix structure of DNA was proposed by Watson and Crick. The DNA molecule is a polymer of nucleotides. Each nucleotide is composed of a nitrogenous base, a five-carbon sugar (deoxyribose), and a phosphate group. There are four nitrogenous bases in DNA, two purines (adenine and guanine) and two pyrimidines (cytosine and thymine). A DNA molecule is composed of two strands. Each strand is composed of nucleotides bonded together covalently between the phosphate group of one and the deoxyribose sugar of the next. From this backbone extend the bases. The bases of one strand bond to the bases of the second strand with hydrogen bonds. Adenine always bonds with thymine, and cytosine always bonds with guanine. The bonding causes the two strands to spiral around each other in a shape called a double helix. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a second nucleic acid found in cells. RNA is a single-stranded polymer of nucleotides. It also differs from DNA in that it contains the sugar ribose, rather than deoxyribose, and the nucleotide uracil rather than thymine. Various RNA molecules function in the process of forming proteins from the genetic code in DNA.

Prokaryotes contain a single, double-stranded circular chromosome. Eukaryotes contain double-stranded linear DNA molecules packaged into chromosomes. The DNA helix is wrapped around proteins to form nucleosomes. The protein coils are further coiled, and during mitosis and meiosis, the chromosomes become even more greatly coiled to facilitate their movement. Chromosomes have two distinct regions which can be distinguished by staining, reflecting different degrees of packaging and determined by whether the DNA in a region is being expressed (euchromatin) or not (heterochromatin).

Questions & Answers

By the definition, is such that 0!=1.why?
Unikpel Reply
Ajay Reply
how we can draw three triangles of distinctly different shapes. All the angles will be cutt off each triangle and placed side by side with vertices touching
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bsc F. y algebra and trigonometry pepper 2
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given that x= 3/5 find sin 3x
Adamu Reply
remove any signs and collect terms of -2(8a-3b-c)
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is that a real answer
Ayush Reply
x²-2x+9-4x²+12x-20 -3x²+10x+11
x²-2x+9-4x²+12x-20 -3x²+10x+11
(X2-2X+8)-4(X2-3X+5)=0 ?
The anwser is imaginary number if you want to know The anwser of the expression you must arrange The expression and use quadratic formula To find the answer
The anwser is imaginary number if you want to know The anwser of the expression you must arrange The expression and use quadratic formula To find the answer
X2-2X+8-4X2+12X-20=0 (X2-4X2)+(-2X+12X)+(-20+8)= 0 -3X2+10X-12=0 3X2-10X+12=0 Use quadratic formula To find the answer answer (5±Root11i)/3
Soo sorry (5±Root11* i)/3
x2-2x+8-4x2+12x-20 x2-4x2-2x+12x+8-20 -3x2+10x-12 now you can find the answer using quadratic
explain and give four example of hyperbolic function
Lukman Reply
What is the correct rational algebraic expression of the given "a fraction whose denominator is 10 more than the numerator y?
Racelle Reply
Find nth derivative of eax sin (bx + c).
Anurag Reply
Find area common to the parabola y2 = 4ax and x2 = 4ay.
y2=4ax= y=4ax/2. y=2ax
A rectangular garden is 25ft wide. if its area is 1125ft, what is the length of the garden
Jhovie Reply
to find the length I divide the area by the wide wich means 1125ft/25ft=45
What do you call a relation where each element in the domain is related to only one value in the range by some rules?
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A banana.
a function
a function
given 4cot thither +3=0and 0°<thither <180° use a sketch to determine the value of the following a)cos thither
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what is the formula for calculating algebraic
Propessor Reply
I think the formula for calculating algebraic is the statement of the equality of two expression stimulate by a set of addition, multiplication, soustraction, division, raising to a power and extraction of Root. U believe by having those in the equation you will be in measure to calculate it
A soccer field is a rectangle 130 meters wide and 110 meters long. The coach asks players to run from one corner to the other corner diagonally across. What is that distance, to the nearest tenths place.
Kimberly Reply
Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
August Reply
What is the expressiin for seven less than four times the number of nickels
Leonardo Reply
How do i figure this problem out.
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
I think if critical temperature denote high temperature then a liquid stats boils that time the water stats to evaporate so some moles of h2o to up and due to high temp the bonding break they have low density so it can be a reason
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
Which event leads to a diploid cell in a life cycle
Nicole Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, University of georgia biology. OpenStax CNX. Dec 09, 2013 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11585/1.6
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