PerspectiveChromatin Dynamics

Building chromosomes without bricks

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  23 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6344, pp. 1233-1234
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8090

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Imagine stowing all 401 km of the London Underground rail network into a suitcase. That's equivalent to cramming four meters of DNA that harbor the genetic blueprint of our lives into a micrometer-sized human cell nucleus. During cell division, this enormous amount of DNA is packed into neatly shaped and structurally stable chromosomes, which allows the faithful segregation of genetic material to daughter cells. This packaging task relies on the work of sophisticated molecular machines (1). On page 1284 of this issue, Shintomi et al. (2) report that chromosomes can be assembled based on condensin-containing axes, challenging the long-held view that nucleosomes are essential to chromosome architecture.