Chromatin Definition for Kids

Chromatin Definition for Kids


The most basic chromatin definition you are going to come across is that it represents a mass of genetic material. However, in order to appreciate what chromatin truly does, you are going to want to dig deeper.

It Is Composed Of Both DNA And Proteins

The first fact that you will want to keep in mind is that chromatin is comprised of both DNA and proteins. These are then condensed to forming chromosomes, which occurs during the process known as eukaryotic cell division. You can find chromatin within the nucleus of your cells.

Understanding The Primary Function

As we delve deeper into the world of chromatin, we will next want to consider the primary function. This involves compressing the DNA into compact units that are now going to be considered less voluminous. At this point, these things can now be fit within your nucleus.

You are also going to want to appreciate the fact that chromatin is made up of complexes of smallish proteins. These smallish proteins are known as histones and DNA. Histone works at organizing DNA into a structure that goes by the name of nucleosomes. They provide a base that allows the DNA the benefit of easy wrapping. The nucleosomes consist of DNA sequences that offer one hundred and fifty base pairs, which are then wrapped around an eight-histone set known as the octomer. These nucleosomes are then additionally folded to create chromatin fibers. These chromatin fibers will now undergo a coiling process, which translates to a condensation process that creates chromosomes.

Chromatin fibers are coiled and condensed to form chromosomes.

Euchromatin and Heterochromatin

Dependent upon the stage of the cell within their cell cycles, the chromatin within the cell can become compacted to a variety of degrees. Within the nucleus, chromatin can be realized in the form of euchromatin and heterochromatin.

Interphase Of The Cycle

Over the course of interphase of this cycle, cells are not actually dividing. What they are actually doing is going through a significant period of growth. Euchromatin works at exposing more of your DNA, in order to allow for replication and DNA transcription to take place. The DNA double-helix will begin unwinding, which should end with opening genes for coding with proteins that are awaiting copy.


The Mitosis element to chromatin is a topic long enough to create its own article. Look into such definitions featured with Mitosis, which includes prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. Each definition has its own unique process.