Open main menu


the ordered and organized complex of DNA, protein, and sometimes RNA, that forms the chromosome

Chromatin is the complex combination of DNA and proteins that makes up chromosomes.[1][2] It is found inside the nuclei of eukaryotic cells.

Chromatin is divided into heterochromatin (condensed) and euchromatin (extended) forms.[3][4] Heterochromatin is composed mostly of satellite DNA tandem repeats. The active components of chromatin are DNA and histone proteins, although other proteins also occur.[5] The functions of chromatin are:

DNA packaging into chromosomes

Chromatin definitionsEdit

  1. Simple and concise definition: Chromatin is a macromolecular complex of a DNA macromolecule and protein macromolecules (and RNA). The proteins package and arrange the DNA and control its functions in the cell nucleus.
  2. The DNA + histone = chromatin definition: The DNA double helix in the cell nucleus is packaged by special proteins termed histones. The formed protein/DNA complex is called chromatin. The basic structural unit of chromatin is the nucleosome.


  1. Van Holde K.E. 1989. Chromatin. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-96694-3
  2. Cooper, Geoffrey M. 2000. The Cell: a molecular approach. 2nd ed, Chapter 4.2 Chromosomes and Chromatin
  3. "Chromatin Network Home Page". Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  4. Dame R.T. (2005). "The role of nucleoid-associated proteins in the organization and compaction of bacterial chromatin". Mol. Microbiol. 56: 858–70. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2005.04598.x. PMID 15853876. 
  5. Van Holde K.J. et al 1995. Elements of chromatin structure: histones, nucleosomes, and fibres, p. 1-26. In S.C.R. Elgin (ed) Chromatin structure and gene expression. IRL Press at Oxford University Press, Oxford.