During cell division, the DNA in a eukaryotic cell's nucleus is coiled into very compact structures called chromosomes. Chromosomes are rod-shaped structures made of DNA and proteins. In Figure 8-1, you can see the many levels of DNA coiling required to form a chromosome.

The chromosomes of stained eukaryotic cells undergoing cell division are visible as darkened structures inside the nuclear membrane. Each chromosome is a single DNA molecule associated with proteins. The DNA in eukaryotic cells wraps tightly around proteins called histones. Histones help maintain the shape of the chromosome and aid in the tight packing of DNA. Nonhistone proteins are generally involved in controlling the activity of specific regions of the DNA.

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