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Euchromatin: Chromosome regions that are loosely packaged and more accessible to RNA polymerases than Heterochromatin. These regions also stain differentially in Chromosome banding preparations.

DNA Packaging

JoVE 10785

Eukaryotes have large genomes compared to prokaryotes. In order to fit their genomes into a cell, eukaryotes must pack their DNA tightly inside the nucleus. To do so, DNA is wound around proteins called histones to form nucleosomes, the main unit of DNA packaging. Nucleosomes then coil into compact fibers known as chromatin.

Most cells in the human body contain about 3 billion base pairs of DNA packaged into 23 pairs of chromosomes. It is hard to imagine exactly how much DNA these numbers represent. So how much packing has to happen to fit the genome into a cell? We can gain some insight by expressing the genome in terms of length. If we were to arrange the DNA of a single human cell, like a skin cell, into a straight line, it would be two meters long–over 6.5 feet. The human body contains around 50 trillion human cells. This means that each person has a total of about 100 trillion meters of DNA. In other words, each person has enough DNA to stretch from the Earth to the Sun 300 times! And humans do not have particularly large genomes–those of many fish, amphibians, and flowering plants are much larger. For example, the genome of the flowering plant Paris japonica is 25 times larger than the human diploid genome. These figures emphasize the astonishing task that eukaryotes must accomplish to pack their DNA inside cells.

 Core: Biology

Lentiviral Vector Platform for the Efficient Delivery of Epigenome-editing Tools into Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Disease Models

1Department of Neurology, Duke University Medical Center, 2Center for Genomic and Computational Biology, Duke University Medical Center, 3Viral Vector Core, Duke University Medical Center, 4Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University Medical Center

JoVE 59241

 Genetics

CRISPR-Mediated Reorganization of Chromatin Loop Structure

1Department of Dermatology, Program in Epithelial Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2Program in Cancer Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 3Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection, Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 4Department of Biology, Bridgewater State University, 5System Biosciences, 6Veterans Affairs Healthcare System

JoVE 57457

 Genetics
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