PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
DNA and chromatin, molecular models. Across top is a depiction of the double helix (orange and red) of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the molecule that carries the genetic code that forms the basis of all life on Earth. DNA is found in cell nuclei. When unravelled, it is several metres long, and has to be tightly coiled to fit inside the nucleus (0.1 millimetres across). The DNA forms double loops (yellow) around a core of histone proteins (blue), a part of the coiling necessary to compact the DNA. The loops and histone structure is known as a nucleosome. Further compacting and packaging forms chromatin (yellow, background). This is the material that makes up the chromosomes found in cell nuclei.
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