How DNA is Packaged (Basic)


In this animation we’ll see the
remarkable way our DNA is tightly packed up so that six feet of this long
molecule fits into the microscopic nucleus of every cell. The process starts when DNA is
wrapped around special protein molecules called histones. The combined loop of DNA and
protein is called a nucleosome. The nucleosomes are packaged
into a thread known as chromatin this fiber is then looped and further
packaged using other proteins which are not shown here. The end result is that the DNA is tightly
packed into the familiar structures we can see through a microscope, chromosomes. Chromosomes are not always present. They form around the times cells divide
when the two copies of the cell’s DNA need to be separated. At other times, as we can
see now after the cell has divided, our DNA is less highly organized. It is still wrapped up around the
histomes but not coiled into chromosomes.

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