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Question Video: Understanding the Importance of the Structure of Chromosomes Science

Inside the nucleus, DNA is wound and coiled into long strands. What are these strands called?

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Video Transcript

Inside the nucleus, DNA is wound and coiled into long strands. What are these strands called?

DNA is really long. In fact, if you took all the DNA from a single human cell and laid it out end to end, it would be about two meters long. So, how does all this DNA fit inside the nucleus of the cell, which is so tiny that it can’t even be seen with the naked eye? The answer is that it’s wound and coiled to make it more compact. You can think of this process as being a bit like folding your clothes up so that you can fit them all inside your suitcase when you go on holiday.

Although we often talk about DNA as if it’s one long molecule, it’s actually split up into many strands, which we call chromosomes. Although we’ve only shown nine here, a typical human body cell contains 46 chromosomes, and they’re stored inside the nucleus. We have therefore determined that the long strands of DNA that are found inside the nucleus are called chromosomes.

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