any of the microscopic rod-shaped bodies formed by the incorporation of the chromatin in a cell nucleus during mitosis and meiosis: they carry the genes that convey hereditary characteristics, and are constant in number for each species
A structure in all living cells that consists of a single molecule of DNA bonded to various proteins and that carries the genes determining heredity. In all eukaryotic cells, the chromosomes occur as threadlike strands in the nucleus. During cell reproduction, these strands coil up and condense into much thicker structures that are easily viewed under a microscope. Chromosomes occur in pairs in all of the cells of eukaryotes except the reproductive cells, which have one of each chromosome, and some red blood cells (such as those of mammals) that expel their nuclei. In bacterial cells and other prokaryotes, which have no nucleus, the chromosome is a circular strand of DNA located in the cytoplasm.