Difference Between DNA and Chromosome (With Table)

Biology is the field of science that deals with the existence of life. Scientists have continuously researched the process of birth, reason, how it works, and what makes up an individual.

The different functioning of body parts and organs have also been searched and studied by researchers. The inheritance of traits, genetic mapping, tracing chromosomes, the assortment of the gene in the chromosome, all of such things are related to the human directly and indirectly.

DNA vs Chromosome

The difference between DNA and Chromosome is that DNA is the unorganized form of genetic material in the eukaryote and some prokaryote whereas comparatively, on the other hand, Chromosome is the most organized form of carrying genetic material in different prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The structure of the DNA looks like a double-helix that runs together and is attached with different bases, while the structure of a chromosome is formed by the coiling of a large thread on a histone protein.

DNA is the acronym for Deoxyribonucleotide acid. It was first discovered by a scientist named Johann Friedrich Miescher, who was also Swiss. Scientists discovered it in the year the late 1860s. The composition of a DNA molecule is that it has a deoxyribose sugar chain on which nucleotides are attached with four different nitrogen bases that are – A. T. G, C.

DNA is a long chain that must be shortened by coiling to fit into a small, microscopic living cell. Thus it is coiled up and is commonly known as Chromosome. The chromosome is the form that helps in passing on the genetic material from the parent to the next generation. The pair of two chromosomes are called sister chromatids.

Comparison Table Between DNA and Chromosome

Parameters of ComparisonDNAChromosome
DefinitionA disorganized form of genetic material helping in reproduction, development, and functionsAn organized form of genetic material that carries it with different histone proteins
CompositionNucleotide bases, phosphate, and deoxyribose sugarHistone proteins with DNA
StructureDouble-helixCondensed
FunctionKeep all the genetic information   Organize and pass on the genetic information through the process of transcription
IdentificationMainly through the process of gel electrophoresisThrough the process of karyotyping by freezing the chromosome at the metaphase plate
Discovered ByJohann Friedrich MiescherWalther Flemming
Discovered InLate 1860s1882

What is DNA?

DNA is a molecule consisting of all the genetic information carried from the parent to the next generation with the help of replication, transcription, and translation. The molecule of DNA forms a very long chain and is very unorganized. It measures approximately up to 3 m.

The discovery of DNA was made by a Swiss-based scientist named Johann Friedrich Miescher around the time of the late 1860s. The composition of DNA is based on three different components that are – backbone chain made up of sugar, phosphate groups, and four different nitrogenous bases – Adenosine (A), Thymine (T), Guanine (G), and Cytosine (C). These four different nitrogenous bases are attached by the very strong hydrogen bonds, and because of these bonds, the two strands of DNA can run parallel with each other.

DNA is said to be the genetic material for all the eukaryotes and some prokaryotes. The location of the DNA is mainly in the nucleus, while some organelles also have their DNA, for example – Chloroplast and Mitochondria. In the laboratory, DNA can be identified by using the two different processes of gel electrophoresis

What is Chromosome?

A chromosome is a molecule that carries the genetic information from the parent body to the next generation. It can also be said as the carrier for genetic material and is considered to be its most organized form. The discovery of chromosomes took place in the year 1882 and was discovered by a scientist named Walther Flemming.

As a single DNA structure is about 3 m in length, it cannot be accumulated in a microscopic cell. Thus it is coiled very tightly around eight different histone proteins, which then form Nucleosome and that is also condensed to form Chromatin, and the structure is further than condensed to as Chromosome.

Different organism contains a different number of chromosomes. Human beings have 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs or 22 homologous pairs and 1 pair of sex chromosomes. They can be identified by the process of karyotyping the metaphase plate. 

Main Differences Between DNA and Chromosome

  1. DNA is a disorganized form of genetic material helping in reproduction, development, and functions, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, a chromosome is an organized form of genetic material carrying it from parent to next generation.
  2. A DNA molecule is comprised of four nitrogen bases – A, T, G, and C, deoxyribose sugar, and phosphate group, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, a chromosome is comprised of histone proteins and DNA.
  3. The DNA molecule appears as a double-helix structure whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the structure of a chromosome is condensed and complex.
  4. The main function of a DNA molecule is to keep genetic material, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the main function of a chromosome is to pass the information from the parent to the next generation.
  5. DNA molecules can be identified by the process of gel electrophoresis, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, a chromosome can be identified by mapping them at the metaphase phase, and it is called karyotyping.
  6. DNA molecule was discovered by Johann Friedrich Miescher whereas comparatively, on the other hand, chromosome was discovered by the scientist Walther Flemming.
  7. DNA molecule was discovered in the late 1860s whereas comparatively, on the other hand, chromosome was discovered in the year 1882. 

Conclusion

To summarize the above discussion, the two terms DNA and chromosome are both related to the inheritance of human beings and how they received their characters and genes from their parents. DNA is said to be the genetic information, and the chromosome is the molecule that carries it.

The discovery of both the term was taken place in different years and was a revolutionized discovery for biologists. The discovery helped them in mapping down the reason behind the building of a human being. DNA being a long chain needs to be accumulated, so it is coiled around histone proteins, further making it a chromosome. Also, the number of chromosome in an organism are different for the different organism.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123226501501442
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10956-006-9006-6
  3. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rstb.1986.0004
  4. https://meridian.allenpress.com/radiation-research/article-abstract/115/3/550/38586/The-Relationship-of-DNA-and-Chromosome-Damage-to
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