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 Scientists developed methods for staining chromosomes so they could be sorted and counted, a test called karyotyping. Wired, "The WIRED Guide to Genetic Testing," 3 Dec. 2019 In humans, for example, egg, sperm and stem cell chromosomes contain high levels of telomerase, and so can continue to divide over and over and avoid rapid aging. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Breakthrough discovery in plants' DNA may lead to slowing aging process in humans," 18 Nov. 2019 The narrator has published three novels, all of which revolve around disappearance: a piano tuner whose lover has gone missing, a ballerina who lost a leg, a boy whose chromosomes are being destroyed by a disease. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "How “The Memory Police” Makes You See," 6 Nov. 2019 In a nutshell, telomeres are caps found at the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "The Longevity Diet: What to Eat So You Live Longer and Healthier," 1 Oct. 2019 The design represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome that result in the condition. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "UTSA senior Baylen Baker gains perspective from mother’s cancer diagnosis," 20 Nov. 2019 Telomerase is the enzyme that creates the DNA of telomeres, the compound structures located at the tips of our chromosomes. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Breakthrough discovery in plants' DNA may lead to slowing aging process in humans," 18 Nov. 2019 Eggs would be subjected to pressure to force them to retain a third set of chromosomes, making the fish triploid and sterile. Author: Evan Bush, Anchorage Daily News, "Cooke Aquaculture seeks to farm native steelhead in Puget Sound after 2017 Atlantic salmon escape," 1 Nov. 2019 As our cells divide, the chromosomes within them that carry the recipe for all cellular functions progressively shorten, because the replication machinery cannot get right to their tips. William Mair, Twin Cities, "William Mair: Five myths about aging," 24 Sep. 2019

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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Learn More about chromosome

Time Traveler for chromosome

Time Traveler

The first known use of chromosome was in 1889

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Statistics for chromosome

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Chromosome.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chromosome?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=c&file=chromo22. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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