Feeds

What is the difference between a chromosome and a gene?

The basis of all life

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.