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Difference Between DNA and Chromosome

y_chromosome_dnaBoth DNA and chromosomes lie behind our basic understanding of the human body. However, there are subtle differences between the two that determine their actions to a significant extent.

So, what do you understand by DNA anyway? DNA can be described as a long fiber that resembles a hair under a powerful microscope. The only difference is that they are much thinner and longer. The whole structure is made of two strands that are intertwined together. When cells get ready to divide, proteins attach themselves to the DNA and leads to the creation of a chromosome.

The DNA in a human body is organized into many stretches of genes. Proteins attach themselves to these stretches and coil them so that they form chromosomes. These stretches are very important in the formation of an organism. Do you know why?

This is because these are the stretches that determine which genes are going to be turned on and which are to be turned off. When a gene is turned on, it determines how the proteins are going to be formed in a cell. This in turn determines many aspects of a human being- starting from the color of his eye to the inheritance of a number of diseases and conditions.

A chromosome is simply the product of the DNA and the proteins that are attached to it. There are 23 pairs of the chromosomes in every human being. One set is inherited from the father, and one set is inherited from the mother. A DNA is a sort of a bio molecule. The entire DNA in cells can be found in individual pieces that are called chromosomes.

The main difference between DNA and chromosome is regarding the role of genes. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. The DNA is basically made up of cytosine, adenine, thymine and guanine. When you arrange these four bases to create a particular segment, it is called a gene. When these segments are coiled in a form that can be easily duplicated, they are known as chromosomes.

Confused? Try to remember it like this- a gene is composed of tiny chromosomes, each of which determines a particular characteristic in a human. These chromosomes are further divided into pieces of DNA. Chromosomes are basically pieces of DNA. If we looked at a chromosome as an intertwined necklace, the beads on it would be the different DNA. The pattern that is formed by this intertwining of the strands is called a double helix pattern.

All of these are basic building blocks of the body. DNA is the smallest part that, together with proteins, forms a chromosome. A chromosome is therefore, nothing but a chain of DNA that has been made compact enough to fit into a cell.

Summary:
1. Both chromosomes and DNA make up an important part of a person’s genes
2. A chromosome is a subpart of a person’s genes, while DNA is a part of the chromosome.
3. When proteins add to DNA, a chromosome is formed.


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11 Comments

  1. i got my concepts cleared.. thank you, it was explained in a well simplified manner.

  2. Thank you very very much. Well explained.

    10 stars/out of 5 :D

  3. Are you sure this is correct? Humans have only 46 chromosomes but thousands of genetic traits. Aren’t genes a subset of chromosomes where are particular genetic trait is a small section of the DNA strand that comprises the chromosome?

  4. This is wrong. Genes are NOT composed of tiny chromosomes. Each chromosome contains many genes. For example, humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and around 20,000 genes. Thus, an average of about 1,000 genes per chromosome. In addition, there is a large amount of non-genic DNA in every chromosome.

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