noun \ˈkrō-mə-ˌsōm, -ˌzōm\

: the part of a cell that contains the genes which control how an animal or plant grows and what it becomes

Full Definition of CHROMOSOME

:  any of the rod-shaped or threadlike DNA-containing structures of cellular organisms that are located in the nucleus of eukaryotes, are usually ring-shaped in prokaryotes (as bacteria), and contain all or most of the genes of the organism; also :  the genetic material of a virus — compare chromatin
chro·mo·som·al \ˌkrō-mə-ˈsō-məl, -ˈzō-\ adjective
chro·mo·som·al·ly \-mə-lē\ adverb


International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1889

Other Genetics Terms

chimera, hermaphrodite, plasticity


noun \ˈkrō-mə-ˌsōm, -ˌzōm\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of CHROMOSOME

: any of the usually linear bodies of the cell nucleus of eukaryotic organisms, the usually circular bodies of prokaryotic organisms (as bacteria), or especially in some schools of molecular biology the genomes of DNA viruses (as bacteriophages) that take up basophilic stains and contain most or all of the genes of the organism <both the chromosomes of cells and those of viruses can duplicate only in the complex environment of a living cell—J. D. Watson> <an episome, an element that may exist as a free circular plasmid, or that may become integrated into the bacterial chromosome as a linear sequence—Benjamin Lewin>
chro·mo·som·al \ˌkrō-mə-ˈsō-məl, -ˈzō-\ adjective
chro·mo·som·al·ly \-mə-lē\ adverb

Illustration of CHROMOSOME


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

During the first stages of cell division, the recognizable double-stranded chromosome is formed by …—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Microscopic, threadlike part of a cell that carries hereditary information in the form of genes. The structure and location of chromosomes differentiate prokaryotic cells from eukaryotic cells (see prokaryote, eukaryote). Every species has a characteristic number of chromosomes; humans have 23 pairs (22 pairs of autosomal, or nonsex, chromosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes). Human chromosomes consist primarily of DNA. During cell division (see meiosis, mitosis), chromosomes are distributed evenly among daughter cells. In sexually reproducing organisms, the number of chromosomes in somatic (nonsex) cells is diploid, while gametes or sex cells (egg and sperm) produced by meiosis are haploid (see ploidy). Fertilization restores the diploid set of chromosomes in the zygote.


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