Difference Between Chromatin and Chromosomes

The DNA is packaged by special proteins called histones to form chromatin. The chromatin further condenses to form chromosomes. This means chromatin is a lower order of DNA organization, whereas chromosomes are a higher order of DNA organization.

To understand how chromatin and chromosomes are different from each other, let us have a look at some of the major differences between chromatin and chromosomes.

Chromatin vs Chromosomes

Difference between Chromosomes and Chromatin


Composed of nucleosomes

They are condensed chromatin fibers


Visualized under the electron microscope

Visualised under a light microscope

Thin, long, uncoiled structure

Thick, compact, ribbon-like structure
Allows DNA replication

No metabolic activity shown


Chromatin is located in the nucleus of our cell. It is composed of DNA and proteins that condense to form chromosomes. It compresses the DNA structure into a compact unit so that it can fit within the nucleus. The histone proteins organize the DNA into special structures called nucleosomes. The nucleosome further folds to form a chromatin fibre.


The DNA is packed into thread-like structures called chromosomes. The DNA is tightly coiled around histone proteins several times to form a chromosome. These are formed by the condensation of chromatin fibres.

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