nuclear DNA content in diploid cells ?

Frank O. Fackelmayer Frank.Fackelmayer at
Wed Dec 22 03:32:54 EST 1999

Carsten Hohoff wrote:

> Could anyone support me with a reference for the DNA content in diploid
> cells ?
> A colleague suggested 5 pg per cell, but e could not give a refernece.
> A quick MEDLINE check yielded the number '7 pg' (for liver cells, Ranek (1976)
> Acta Cytol) - what about other cell types ?
> Any hint is appreciated !
> Regards
> Carsten

Hi Carsten,
The numbers you got are quite ok. If you calculate it on your own, you get some
6.6pg per human cell. That number comes from :
3*10e9 (the size of the human genome in bp) * 2 (because diploid) * 660 (mw of
one bp) * 1.67*10-12pg ("weight of one dalton") = 6.6pg
no references needed here...

In real life, if you prepare genomic DNA from 1e7 cells, you get some 50-60ug.
That compares well with the calculated amount. So, as a rule of thumb,
calculating with 5pg per human cell is good. For cells of other origin, you can
calculate the amount easily if you know the genome size and ploidity.


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