What is the difference between heterochromatin and euchromatin?
Chromatin is a biological structure that holds the strands of DNA of a chromosome. Heterochromatin and euchromatin happen to be two types of chromatins in a cell.
The lesson, therefore, provides insights into the difference between heterochromatin and euchromatin in tabular form for easier understanding.
What Is Heterochromatin?
Heterochromatin is a comparatively condensed form of chromosomes and they normally result in a dark stain with DNA specific stain.
They are a tightly packed form of the DNA in a nucleus. The compact structure makes it tough for accessible proteins during gene expression.
There are two types of heterochromatic such as facultative heterochromatin and constitutive heterochromatin.
Facultative heterochromatin is where genes get sliced through the process of Histone methylation or siRNA. The resulting genes are inactive though not the permanent character of every nucleus of cells.
Constitutive heterochromatin is the repetitive and structurally functional genes such as centromeres or telomeres. It normally results in no gene in the genome.
The core function of heterochromatin is to protect the DNA from the endonuclease damage which occurs as a result of compact nature.
What Is Euchromatin?
Euchromatin is the part of the chromosomes that is rich in gene concentration and it is loosely packed. They are known to be active during transcription.
The core function of euchromatin is to regulate gene mechanisms during the process of transcription. An example of euchromatin is housekeeping.
Comparison Chart: Heterochromatin Vs Euchromatin
|Form||Tightly packed form of DNA||Loosely packed form of DNA|
|Transcriptional activity||Little participation||Actively participated|
|Core Function||Highly involved in the maintenance of structural integrity and regulation of gene expression||Highly involved in genetic transcription and genetic variations|
|Kind of stain||Stained dark||Lightly stained|
|Location of the chromatins||The periphery of the nucleus in eukaryotic cells only.||The inner body of the nucleus for both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.|
|Organism||Eukaryotes||Both eukaryotes and prokaryotes|
|Active vs Inactive||Inactive||Active|
|How it is affected||The phenotype of the organism remains unchanged||Genetic processes and variation in alleles|
- Heterochromatic is a sticky region while euchromatin is a non-sticky region
- Heterochromatin shows heteropycnosis while euchromatin does not show heteropycnosis
- Heterochromatin is highly affected by temperature and sex while euchromatin is less affected.
- Euchromatin tend to experience more crossover while heterochromatin less frequency of crossover
- The phenotype of euchromatin tend to be affected by addition or loss while the phenotype of heterochromatin remains unchanged
- The region of euchromatin are able to the synthesis of mRNA in vitro whereas heterochromatin does not synthesize mRNA in vitro size
- Heterochromatin regions are deeply stained dark while euchromatin regions are lightly stained.
You May Also Like:
- Difference between Centromere and Kinetochore
- Difference between Chromatid and Chromosome
- Difference between Nucleoside and Nucleotide
The core difference between heterochromatin and euchromatin is based on the structure and staining. Understanding these differences is quite key to the preparation of competitive exams. Good luck.
More Sources and References
- Heterochromatin. Wikipedia.
- Euchromatin. Science Direct