News18»Buzz
1-MIN READ

High-resolution 3D Imaging Shows Chromosomes Don’t Look the Way We Thought All Along

Image for representative purpose. Screenshot from video uploaded by WEHImovies / YouTube.

Image for representative purpose. Screenshot from video uploaded by WEHImovies / YouTube.

For ages, science students have been taught that the shape of the chromosomes is flat and thread-like. These threads are basically complex arrangements of DNA and proteins condensed to allow kilometre lengths of DNA to be packaged in a microscopic nucleus.

Chromosomes are the structures that store the genetic information of an individual, which is passed down from parents to offspring.

For ages, science students have been taught that the shape of the chromosomes is flat and thread-like. These threads are basically complex arrangements of DNA and proteins condensed to allow kilometre lengths of DNA to be packaged in a microscopic nucleus.

Every chromosome has two arms joined together at the centre. The arms are called chromatids.

However, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell indicates that this depiction of the chromosome structure might not be accurate, reported Science Alert.

A team of researchers, using a new way of imaging the 3D organisation of the chromatin in human cells, have found that our chromosomes do not look the way we have imagined them all these years. Formerly associated with Harvard University, Jun-Han Su – a physician-scientist whose team has worked on this research – said that for 90 percent of the time, chromosomes don’t exist like that [the way we have pictured them].

The model constructed by Jun’s team gives us a meticulous understanding of the structure of the chromosome. Researcher Xiaowei Zhuang stressed on finding three things — the 3D organisation, the molecular mechanism underlying the organisation and how this organisation regulates genome function.

In the new high-resolution 3D imaging system, multiple snapshots of genomic loci along DNA chains were joined together. The researchers were even able to understand some aspects of transcription activity.

As per the research team, they are envisioning a broad application of the high-throughput, multi-scale and multimodal imaging technology. They say that this technology provides an integrated view of the organisation of the chromatin in its native structural and functional context. The data has been shared by the research team online for others to analyse.

Earlier, in 2013, scientists from the UK’s Babraham Institute, University of Cambridge and Weizmann Institute had created a 3D model of the chromosome that showed that they looked nothing like X.

They had used the DNA sequencing technology to make thousands of molecular measurements of chromosomes.


Next Story
Loading...