WHAT IS A CHROMOSOME

parkerbr at cc.uvcc.edu parkerbr at cc.uvcc.edu
Tue Feb 1 19:25:56 EST 1994


As a teacher of genetics, I face an often frustrating task of defining for my
students  what is meant by a chromosome. Most would agree that the word refers
to a single piece or segment of DNA containing many genes. However, most
textbooks refer to the structure found in the early stages of mitosis,
containing _two_ pieces of DNA held together by a centromere also as a
chromosome. Since this is really just a temporary structure made by the cell as
a way to accurately divide the DNA, wouldn't another name be more appropriate,
and less confusing? Most post-biology students probably still think that those
"X"-shaped structures are found in all cells whether dividing or not.
Any thoughts on the matter?



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