Feeds

What is the difference between a chromosome and a gene?

The basis of all life

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Also in this week's column:

What is the difference between a chromosome and a gene?

Asked by Lynn Davis of Casper, Wyoming

This topic gets very complicated very quickly. Here's a short version. All life is made up of cells. All cells in the human body, except red blood cells, contain chromosomes.

"Chromosome" comes from the Greek words khroma meaning "color" and soma meaning "body". Chromosomes got their name from the first lab experiments in the 1880s that revealed chromosomes could be easily stained with dyes, thus making studying them easier.

A gene is located on a chromosome. Every factor in inheritance is due to a particular gene. Genes specify the structure of particular proteins that make up each cell.

Gene comes from the Greek word genea meaning generation, origin, beginning, kin, or sometimes race. Gene was shortened from "pangene" which means "all-generation". Genes contain DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is the chemical basis of heredity.

Think of it this way: DNA is in genes, genes are on chromosomes. When "mapping" all genes on all human chromosomes was first seriously conceived, it was called the Human Genome Project - a combination of gene and chromosome.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.