Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A complex of nucleic acids and proteins, primarily histones, in the cell nucleus that stains readily with basic dyes and condenses to form chromosomes during cell division.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In cytology, that portion of the cell-nucleus in animals and plants which takes on a deep color in certain stains (carmine, hematoxylin, etc.): opposed to achromatin.
  • noun In bot, a name proposed for that portion of the substance of the nucleus which is readily colored by staining agents.
  • noun In zoology, that portion of the substance of an ovum which has a special affinity for coloring matter and readily becomes colored; chromophilous protoplasm, which in the process of maturation of the ovum forms various colored figures, as disks and threads: the opposite of achromatin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Biol.), archaic Tissue which is capable of being stained by dyes.
  • noun (Biol.) The deeply staining substance of the nucleus and chromosomes of eukaryotic cells, composed of DNA and basic proteins (such as histones), the DNA of which comprises the predominant physical basis of inheritance. It was, at the beginning of the 20th century, supposed to be the same substance as was then termed idioplasm or germ plasm. In most eukaryotic cells, there is also DNA in certain plasmids, such as mitochondria, or (in plant cells) chloroplasts; but with the exception of these cytoplasmic genetic factors, the nuclear DNA of the chromatin is believed to contain all the genetic information required to code for the development of an adult organism. In the interphase nucleus the chromosomes are dispersed, but during cell division or meiosis they are condensed into the individually recognizable chromosomes. The set of chromosomes, or a photographic representation of the full set of chromosomes of a cell (often ordered for presentation) is called a karyotype.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun biology A complex of DNA, RNA and proteins within the cell nucleus out of which chromosomes condense during cell division.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the readily stainable substance of a cell nucleus consisting of DNA and RNA and various proteins; during mitotic division it condenses into chromosomes

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From German Chromatin, from (combining form of) Ancient Greek χρῶμα ("colour") + -in.

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