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About genomes (glossary)

Where can DNA be found?

In a eukaryotic cell, which is a cell that has a nucleus, the genomic DNA is located in the nucleus, where it binds to various proteins (primarily histones) that cause it to assume a folded structure. When cell division takes place, the genomic DNA is distributed to the two daughter cells as condensed chromosomes.

Human somatic cells, which comprise most of the cells in the human body aside from cells involved in reproduction (such as sperm and oocytes), possess two sets of genomes: one derived from the father and one derived from the mother. Each of these genomes consists of 22 pairs of autosomes and 1 sex chromosome. The size of the human genome is approximately 3 billion base pairs 3 × 109 bp. Therefore, each human somatic cell possesses 44 autosomes and 1 pair of sex chromosomes (XX for female and XY for male), thus containing approximately 6 billion base pairs (6 × 109 bp) of DNA.