Prokaryotic and eukaryotic chromosomes: what's the difference?
Summary It is widely held that the profound differences in cellular architecture between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, in particular the housing of eukaryotic chromosomes within a nuclear membrane, also extends to the proper- ties of their chromosomes. When chromosomal multi- plicity, ploidy, linearity, transcriptional silencing, partitioning, and packaging are considered, no consis- tent association is found between any of these proper- ties and the presence or absence of a nuclear membrane. Some of the perceived differences can be attributed to cytological limitations imposed by the small size of bacterial nucleoids and the arbitrary choice of representative organisms for comparison. We suggest that the criterion of nucleosome-based packaging of chromosomal DNA may be more useful than the prokaryote/eukaryote dichotomy for inferring the broadest phylogenetic relationships among orga- nisms. BioEssays 22:481-486, 2000. fl 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 481-486, 2000