chromosome

noun
chro·​mo·​some | \ ˈkrō-mə-ˌsōm How to pronounce chromosome (audio) , -ˌzōm \

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 (such as bacteria), and contain all or most of the genes of the organism also : the genetic material of a virus — compare chromatin

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Other Words from chromosome

chromosomal \ ˌkrō-​mə-​ˈsō-​məl How to pronounce chromosomal (audio) , -​ˈzō-​ \ adjective
chromosomally \ ˌkrō-​mə-​ˈsō-​mə-​lē How to pronounce chromosomally (audio) , -​ˈzō-​ \ adverb

Examples of chromosome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This test scans your baby’s DNA, which is floating around your own blood, for abnormalities — such as too many or not enough chromosomes. Emily Mullin, New York Times, "[Everything you need to know about," 17 Apr. 2020 Follow the recommendations for a healthy pregnancy, but know that most miscarriages occur because of faulty chromosomes in an embryo — not a pregnant woman’s diet or habits. Jyoti Madhusoodanan, New York Times, "How to Recognize Miscarriage Symptoms and Cope With the Aftermath," 16 Apr. 2020 To American girls -- those born with XX chromosomes -- the message is, 'Give up. Fox News, "Female HS track star says lawsuit to overturn Conn. transgender athlete policy 'absolutely necessary'," 19 Feb. 2020 One of his major discoveries was that certain genes could cause cancer through mutations or alterations in the genetic arrangements on chromosomes. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Philip Leder, medical researcher who explored genetic links to cancer, dies at 85," 15 Feb. 2020 At least half of all miscarriages are the result of an abnormal number chromosomes in the embryo, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Jessica Zucker, Glamour, "Women Blame Themselves for Miscarriages. This Test Could Change That.," 18 Feb. 2020 In their other 62 chromosomes (armadillos have 32 pairs, compared to humans’ 23 pairs), quadruplets had an average of 700 genes that differed in whether they were expressed or not, Gillis and his colleagues report in a preprint posted to bioRxiv. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Scientists aren’t sure why identical twins differ. Armadillo quads offer an answer," 20 Dec. 2019 These prawns can then easily contribute their female chromosomes to new generations of superfemales. Jillian Kramer, Scientific American, "Single-Sex Prawns Could Aid Fight against Snail-Borne Disease," 10 Dec. 2019 The Human Genome Project was an international scientific collaboration that successfully mapped, sequenced and made publicly available the genetic content of human chromosomes – or all human DNA. Ari Berkowitz, The Conversation, "Why sequencing the human genome failed to produce big breakthroughs in disease," 11 Feb. 2020

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

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First Known Use of chromosome

1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chromosome

borrowed from German Chromosom, from chromo- chromo- + -som -some entry 3

Note: The term Chromosom was first suggested by the German anatomist Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer-Hartz in "Ueber Karyokinese und ihre Beziehungen zu den Befruchtungsvorgängen," Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, Band 23 (1888), p. 27: "In ester Linier möchte ich mir jedoch den Vorschlag erlauben, diejenigen Dinge, welche soeben mit Boveri als 'chromatische Elemente' bezeichnet wurden, an denen sich einer der wichtigsten Akten der Karyokinese, die Flemming'sche Längsteilung vollzieht, mit einem besonderen terminus technicus 'Chromosomen' zu belegen. Der Name 'primäre Schleifen' passt nicht, da wir bei weitem nicht immer eine Schleifenform für diese Dinge haben. 'Chromatische Elemente' ist zu lang. Andererseits sind sie so wichtig, dass ein besonderer kürzerer Name wünschenswerth erscheint. Plattne… gebraucht den Ausdruck 'Karyosomen'; da dieser aber zu sehr an Kernkörperchen erinnert, dürfte eine andere Bezeichnung vorzuziehen sein. Ist die von mir vorgeschlagene praktisch verwendbar, so wird sie sich wohl einbürgern, sonst möge sie bald der Vergessenheit anheimfallen." ("In the first place I must allow myself to suggest a new technical term, 'chromosomes,' for those things which have been designated by Boveri 'chromatic elements,' at which one of the most important acts of karyokinesis, Flemming's longitudinal splitting, is carried out. The name 'primary loops' is not suitable, since it is by no means the case that these things always have the form of a loop. 'Chromatic elements' is too long. On the other hand, they are so important that a special shorter name seems desirable. Plattner uses the expression 'karyosomes,' but as this too readily brings to mind nucleoli, another name is to be preferred. If the name I propose is serviceable, it will become customary, otherwise it will soon pass into oblivion.")

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Time Traveler for chromosome

Time Traveler

The first known use of chromosome was in 1889

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Statistics for chromosome

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chromosome.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chromosome. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for chromosome

chromosome

noun
How to pronounce chromosome (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chromosome

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

chromosome

noun
chro·​mo·​some | \ ˈkrō-mə-ˌsōm How to pronounce chromosome (audio) \

Kids Definition of chromosome

: one of the rod-shaped or threadlike structures of a cell nucleus that contain genes and divide when the cell divides

chromosome

noun
chro·​mo·​some | \ ˈkrō-mə-ˌsōm, -ˌzōm How to pronounce chromosome (audio) \

Medical 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

Other Words from chromosome

chromosomal \ ˌkrō-​mə-​ˈsō-​məl, -​ˈzō-​ How to pronounce chromosomal (audio) \ adjective
chromosomally \ -​mə-​lē How to pronounce chromosomally (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on chromosome

Spanish Central: Translation of chromosome

Nglish: Translation of chromosome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chromosome for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chromosome

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