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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes
  • Distinguish between chromosomes, genes, and traits
  • Describe the mechanisms of chromosome compaction

The continuity of life from one cell to another has its foundation in the reproduction of cells by way of the cell cycle. The cell cycle    is an orderly sequence of events that describes the stages of a cell’s life from the division of a single parent cell to the production of two new daughter cells. The mechanisms involved in the cell cycle are highly regulated.

Genomic dna

Before discussing the steps a cell must undertake to replicate, a deeper understanding of the structure and function of a cell’s genetic information is necessary. A cell’s DNA, packaged as a double-stranded DNA molecule, is called its genome    . In prokaryotes, the genome is composed of a single, double-stranded DNA molecule in the form of a loop or circle ( [link] ). The region in the cell containing this genetic material is called a nucleoid. Some prokaryotes also have smaller loops of DNA called plasmids that are not essential for normal growth. Bacteria can exchange these plasmids with other bacteria, sometimes receiving beneficial new genes that the recipient can add to their chromosomal DNA. Antibiotic resistance is one trait that often spreads through a bacterial colony through plasmid exchange.

The illustration shows a prokaryotic cell with a single, circular chromosome floating free in the cytoplasm.
Prokaryotes, including bacteria and archaea, have a single, circular chromosome located in a central region called the nucleoid.

In eukaryotes, the genome consists of several double-stranded linear DNA molecules ( [link] ). Each species of eukaryotes has a characteristic number of chromosomes in the nuclei of its cells. Human body cells have 46 chromosomes, while human gametes (sperm or eggs) have 23 chromosomes each. A typical body cell, or somatic cell, contains two matched sets of chromosomes, a configuration known as diploid    . The letter n is used to represent a single set of chromosomes; therefore, a diploid organism is designated 2 n . Human cells that contain one set of chromosomes are called gametes, or sex cells; these are eggs and sperm, and are designated 1n , or haploid    .

The 23 chromosomes from a human female are each dyed a different color so they can be distinguished. During most of the cell cycle, each chromosome is elongated into a thin strand that folds over on itself, like a piece of spaghetti.  The chromosomes fill the entire spherical nucleus, but each one is contained in a different part, resulting in a multi-colored sphere. During mitosis, the chromosomes condense into thick, compact bars, each a different color. These bars can be arranged in numerical order to form a karyotype. There are two copies of each chromosome in the karyotype..
There are 23 pairs of homologous chromosomes in a female human somatic cell. The condensed chromosomes are viewed within the nucleus (top), removed from a cell in mitosis and spread out on a slide (right), and artificially arranged according to length (left); an arrangement like this is called a karyotype. In this image, the chromosomes were exposed to fluorescent stains for differentiation of the different chromosomes. A method of staining called “chromosome painting” employs fluorescent dyes that highlight chromosomes in different colors. (credit: National Human Genome Project/NIH)

Matched pairs of chromosomes in a diploid organism are called homologous (“same knowledge”) chromosomes . Homologous chromosomes are the same length and have specific nucleotide segments called genes in exactly the same location, or locus    . Genes, the functional units of chromosomes, determine specific characteristics by coding for specific proteins. Traits are the variations of those characteristics. For example, hair color is a characteristic with traits that are blonde, brown, or black.

Questions & Answers

what is used to determine phylogeny?
Israel Reply
which condition is the basis for a species to be reproductively isolated from other members?
Israel Reply
Why do scientists consider vestigial structures evidence for evolution?
8.Which statement about analogies is correct?
What is true about organisms that are a part of the same clade?
Why is it so important for scientists to distinguish between homologous and analogous characteristics before building phylogenetic trees?
(CH2O)n is the stoichiometric formula of
Marcellus Reply
what are nucleotide
Anastijjaninaiya Reply
Methane,ammonia,water and sugar are dissolved to form nuceotide
Introduction To Biology
Tanveer Reply
can ringworm be caused by bacterium
fred Reply
Branches of biology
no it does not occurs by bacterium
what is a brick?
Istifanus Reply
what is gene in biology?
yousaf Reply
it is a heredity unit
what is DNA
yousaf Reply
carrier of genetic information
deoxyribonucleic acid
it contains genetic information and brings it to one generation to other
it is of two Types circular DNA and linear DNA
plasmids are the type of small circular DNA which lies outside the genomic DNA
And what makes a virus to be difficult to destroy
what observation is made when dry seeds and soaked seeds are put in a vacuum flask
Robin Reply
there is respiration from the soak seeds which shows on the walls of the vacuum flask
what's mammals ?
Istifanus Reply
mammals are vertebrates ,any member group of vertebrates animals in which the young are nourished with milk from special mammary glands of the mother.
what are actin and myosin
Praveen Reply
they are muscle filaments
they make up the microfibrils of the muscle ,relaxing and contracting to cause movement
Please did anybody know the questions that will come out in the coming practical?
Why it is importantthat there are different types of protein in plasma membraine for the transport materials into and out of a cell?
Louellie Reply
the nerve cell
Mustapha Reply
differences between Homo sapiens and other primates
Aphiwe Reply
Why is albinism a recessive trait
Tyrosinase gene are make albinism to recessive trait
And what are the Tyrosinase genes

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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