Chromosome Vs Chromatid- Definition, 11 Differences, Examples

The Key Differences between Chromosome Vs Chromatid

Chromosome Definition

A chromosome is a thread-like structure located in the nucleus or nuclear section of the cytoplasm that is composed of a single DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) molecule and proteins, containing some or all of the genetic information of an organism.

  • Only at the metaphase of the cell lifecycle, while the chromosomes align in the centre of the cell, does DNA replication occur. These chromosomes are visible under a light microscope.
  • Since prokaryotes lack a localised nucleus, only one circular chromosome is located in the nucleoid region of the cytoplasm.
  • Some prokaryotes may have plasmids, which are extrachromosomal DNA, in their cytoplasm. Horizontal gene transfer is facilitated by these.
  • The chromosome is connected to packaging proteins in eukaryotic species that keep the chromosomes from becoming unmanageable.
  • The chromatin fibres bundle eukaryotic chromosomes into a compact form known as chromatin. The very lengthy chromosomes can fit inside a nucleus because the chromosomes are compressed.
  • In the mitochondria and chloroplasts of certain eukaryotes, an extra chromosome may exist outside the nucleus.
  • Throughout several stages of the cell cycle, chromosomal shape changes. During various stages of cell division, chromosomes may uncoil, replicate, and divide.
  • Humans have two different kinds of chromosomes: autosomes, also known as body chromosomes, and allosomes, commonly known as sex chromosomes.
  • The 46 chromosomes in humans are distributed among 23 pairs of chromosomes, 22 pairs of autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes.
  • All the genetic components required for many processes, including protein synthesis, cell division, and reproduction, are included in these chromosomes.
  • Chromosomes are intricately controlled biological units that provide sexually reproducing organisms with their genetic variety. In asexual reproduction, the chromosomes are doubled, and identical genetic information is passed to the daughter cells.
  • Genetic variation during sexual reproduction is caused by the meiotic process of crossing over.
  • Chromosome abnormalities may cause a variety of chromosomal problems, and gene mutations can sometimes result in cancer.

Chromatid Definition

A duplicated chromosome’s identical half is known as a chromatid. A chromosome is divided into two similar halves after duplication; each of them is known as a chromatid.

  • Since chromatids are generated after the chromosome has uncoiled, they are less compressed than chromosomes.
  • Sister chromatids are chromatids that develop from the same chromosome and are linked together by a centromere in the middle.
  • Chromatids may also exist as non-sister chromatids, which are formed when two chromatids from separate chromosomes are linked together by chiasmata to exchange genetic material.
  • Especially at cell division, when each chromosome repeats to enhance the DNA’s mass, can chromatids exist? Following this, the DNA is separated into two chromatids, some of which have the same genetic information.
  • The chromatids split off and grow into distinct chromosomes as the cell division proceeds.
  • Chromatids are transient structures that are only present during chromosomal duplication and separation.
  • Chromatids are said to be homozygous since they are identical. But sometimes, one or both chromatids may experience modifications as a consequence of mutations, giving rise to heterozygous chromatids.
  • During the period of meiosis, chromosomes play an essential function in cell division. In order to exchange genetic material, the non-sister chromatids (one inherited from the father’s chromosome and one from the mother’s) form charismata during prophase I of meiosis I.
  • This occurrence is essential for sexual reproduction because it provides genetic variety within the species and hence sexual reproduction.
  • Contrary to chromosomes, chromatids can not transcribe proteins.

Key Differences (Chromosome vs Chromatid)

Basis for Comparison Chromosome Chromatid
Definition A chromosome is a thread-like structure present in the nucleus or nuclear region of the cytoplasm that is made up of a single molecule of DNA and proteins, carrying some or all genetic materials of an organism. A chromatid is an identical half of a duplicated chromosome. After duplication of a chromosome, two identical halves are formed, each of which is called chromatids.
Compactness Chromosomes are more condensed than chromatids. Chromatids are less condensed than chromosomes.
Consists of A chromosome consists of a single, double-stranded DNA molecule. Chromatids are two molecules of double-stranded DNA joined together in the center by a centromere.
Structure Chromosomes have a thin ribbon-like structure. Chromatids have a thin and long fibrous structure.
Nature Homologous chromosomes are not identical to each other. Homologous or Homozygous sister chromosomes are identical.
DNA DNA in a chromosome is tightly packed. The DNA molecule is unwounded and thus is free.
Present Chromosomes are present in all cells throughout their life. Chromatids are formed during the interphase and exist until the metaphase of cell division.
Centromeres Chromosomes do not have centromeres. Chromatids are connected to the center by a centromere.
Duplication Chromosomes are capable of replication or duplication. Chromatids cannot replicate or duplicate.
Protein synthesis Genetic information in chromosomes can be transcribed to produce protein molecules. Chromatids are not involved in macromolecule synthesis like protein formation.
Function Chromosomes carry genetic material and thus are involved in the transfer of genetic material through different generations of organisms. Chromatids help to maintain the proper amount or number of DNA in the cell after cell division.

References and Sources

  • National Human Genome Research Institute. 13 July 2020. https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Chromosome
  • National Human Genome Research Institute. 13 July 2020. https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Chromatid
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  • 1% – https://www.thoughtco.com/understanding-the-cell-cycle-373391
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  • 1% – https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/non-sister-chromatid
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  • <1% – https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/basics/chromosome
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