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In the diagram, (1) refers to a chromatid: one-half of two identical threadlike strands of a replicated chromosome. During cell division, the identical copies (called a "sister chromatid pair") are joined at the region called the centromere (2). Once the paired sister chromatids have separated from one another (in the anaphase of mitosis) each is known as a daughter chromosome. The short arm of the left chromatid (3), and the long arm of the right chromatid (4), are also marked.

A chromatid (Greek khrōmat- 'color' + -id) is one copy of a newly copied chromosome which is still joined to the original copy by a single centromere.

Before replication, one chromosome is composed of one DNA molecule. Following replication, each chromosome is composed of two DNA molecules; in other words, DNA replication itself increases the amount of DNA but does not increase the number of chromosomes. The two identical copies—each forming one half of the replicated chromosome—are called chromatids.[1] During the later stages of cell division these chromatids separate longitudinally to become individual chromosomes.[2]

Chromatid pairs are normally genetically identical, and said to be homozygous; however, if mutation(s) occur, they will present slight differences, in which case they are heterozygous. The pairing of chromatids should not be confused with the ploidy of an organism, which is the number of homologous versions of a chromosome.

Chromonema is the fibre-like structure in prophase in the primary stage of DNA condensation. In metaphase, they are called chromatids.

Sister chromatids[edit]

Chromatids may be sister or non-sister chromatids. A sister chromatid is either one of the two chromatids of the same chromosome joined together by a common centromere. Once sister chromatids have separated (during the anaphase of mitosis or the anaphase II of meiosis during sexual reproduction), they are again called chromosomes. Although having the same genetic mass as the individual chromatids that made up its parent, the daughter "molecules" are called chromosomes in a similar way that one child of a pair of twins is not referred to as a single twin. The DNA sequence of two sister chromatids is completely identical (apart from very rare DNA copying errors). Sometimes sister chromatids do not separate during cell division, leading to a situation known as nondisjunction where one daughter cell lacks the chromosome while the other gets both copies of it. Conditions arising from nondisjunction include Edwards Syndrome, Down Syndrome and Turner Syndrome. [3]

Sister chromatid exchange (SCE) is the exchange of genetic information between two sister chromatids. SCEs can occur during mitosis or meiosis. SCEs appear to primarily reflect DNA recombinational repair processes responding to DNA damage (see articles Sister chromatids and Sister chromatid exchange).

Non-sister chromatids, on the other hand, refers to either of the two chromatids of paired homologous chromosomes, that is, the pairing of a paternal chromosome and a maternal chromosome. In chromosomal crossovers, non-sister (homologous) chromatids form chiasmata to exchange genetic material during the prophase I of meiosis (See Homologous recombination).


  1. ^ "What is a Chromatid?". Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  2. ^ "Definition of CHROMATID". Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Chromatid". Retrieved 26 September 2017. 

3. "Chromosomes, Chromatids and Chromatin" Retrieved 13 September 2017.