chro·​ma·​tin | \ ˈkrō-mə-tən How to pronounce chromatin (audio) \

Definition of chromatin

: a complex chiefly of DNA and histone in eukaryotic cells that is usually dispersed in the interphase nucleus and condensed into chromosomes in mitosis and meiosis and in which the nucleosome makes up its repeating subunits In eukaryotes, the DNA interacts with the histone proteins to form a tightly packed superstructure known as chromatin.— Isao Tanaka et al. — see cell illustration — compare euchromatin, heterochromatin, nucleosome

Other Words from chromatin

chromatinic \ ˌkrō-​mə-​ˈti-​nik How to pronounce chromatin (audio) \ adjective

Examples of chromatin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That’s when Marco realized that the architectural changes to the chromatin were preparing the cells to reinforce the memories when they were recalled. Quanta Magazine, 2 Nov. 2020 Amid all of this, the chromatin pinches off here and there into thousands of loops. Quanta Magazine, 25 Feb. 2015 And a new company aims to target one aspect of epigenetics — chromatin winding — to try to treat first cancer, and then other disorders. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, 20 Apr. 2018 That’s because the chemical elements in chromatin don’t contain many electrons. Bradley J. Fikes,, 27 July 2017 Between those boundary points, those clusters of insulating proteins, the chromatin strand can loop up and over like the ribbon in a birthday bow, allowing genetic elements distributed along the ribbon to touch and interact with one another. Natalie Angier, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2017 This raises another question: what determines the chromatin code? Brandon Keim, WIRED, 2 July 2007 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chromatin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chromatin

1882, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chromatin

borrowed from German Chromatin "dense part of the cell nucleus that is easily stained," from Greek chrōmat-, chrôma "color" + German -in -in entry 1

Note: Term introduced by German biologist Walther Flemming (1843-1905) in "Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Zelle und ihrer Lebenserscheinungen, Theil II," Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, Band 18 (1880), pp. 157-58.

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Time Traveler for chromatin

Time Traveler

The first known use of chromatin was in 1882

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Dictionary Entries Near chromatin



chromatin diminution

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Statistics for chromatin

Cite this Entry

“Chromatin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for chromatin


chro·​ma·​tin | \ ˈkrō-mət-ən How to pronounce chromatin (audio) \

Medical Definition of chromatin

: a complex of a nucleic acid with basic proteins (as histone) in eukaryotic cells that is usually dispersed in the interphase nucleus and condensed into chromosomes in mitosis and meiosis

Other Words from chromatin

chromatinic \ ˌkrō-​mə-​ˈtin-​ik How to pronounce chromatin (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on chromatin Encyclopedia article about chromatin


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