Microbiology
Genetics

What is an everyday analogy for chromatin?

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May 31, 2006 4:38AM

When a cell needs to divide, it condenses all of the DNA into a complex ball called chromatin. Usually (during interphase), the DNA is unwound and it looks like a bunch of hair in the cell. However, come dividing time, there needs to be some organization. The chromosomes wind themselves up around these bead like proteins called nucleosomes. Them they fold up into something called scaffolding. It keeps going until it forms the commenly known shape of an "X" as seen in the pictures of divinding cells. Then, so there is metaphase, where all of the chromosomes (the "X's") line up in the middle. The cell need to push and pull hald of the chromosomes to one pole and half to the other pole. So, the centriole shoots out a bunch of hair like things (actin-myosin fibers) to the center of the cell. The ends of these hairs connect to the kinetochore (in the center of the X) and to each other in the center of the cell. Then, when all of the hairs are hooked up, they push and pull on each other until they are far enough apart (and with equal chromosomes on both sides) that the cell can cave in and divide.