"We control their chromosomes."
Henry Wu(src)

Chromatin is DNA bound to proteins like histones and scaffold proteins. A separate piece of chromatin in cells is called a chromosome. These DNA binding proteins serve a number of functions.

  • to package DNA into a smaller volume to fit in the cell
  • to strengthen the DNA to allow cell division
  • to prevent DNA damage
  • to control gene expression and DNA replication

During the DNA synthesis no chromatin is created, but naked DNA. Before the dinosaurs can be cloned, this DNA has to be packaged by proteins to form chromosomes.


DNA winds around histones. Credit: Max Planck Society

Jurassic Park media Edit

No Jurassic Park media mentions how chromosomes are created from ancient DNA.

Artificial chromatin Edit

Today there is no technology that could turn naked DNA strands of multimillion base pairs into functional chromosomes. However, artificial chromatin is a developing field that will be of great importance in Synthetic Biology and medicine. Pioneering research has been performed.

Most of the studies on artificial chromatin have been performed in frogs. Studies have shown that short fragments of naked DNA, when exposed to plasma from frog cells, can bind to the histones in the plasma and form functional chromatin.[1][2][3] In 2012 a Human artificial chromosome had successfully formed chromatin after transfection into human cells.[4]

References Edit

  1. Simpson R.T., Thoma F., Brubaker J.M. (1985). Chromatin Reconstituted from Tandemly Repeated Cloned DNA Fragments and Core Histones: A Model System for Study of Higher Order Structure, Cell, volume 42, pages 799-808.
  2. Hirano T., Mitchison T.J. (1991). Cell Cycle Control of Higher-Order Chromatin Assembly around Naked DNA In Vitro, The Journal of Cell Biology, Volume 115, Number6, pages 1479-1489.
  3. Xiao B., Freedman B.S., Miller K.E., Heald R., Marko J.F. (2012). Histone H1 compacts DNA under force and during chromatin assembly, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Volume 23, 4864-4871.
  4. Bergmann J.H., Martins N.M.C., Larionov V., Masumoto H., Earnshaw W.C. (2012). HACking the centromere chromatin code: insights from human artificial chromosomes, Chromosome Res, Volume 20, pages 505–519.