Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne DNA in the Nucleus
Name: Sar
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: PA
Country: United States
Date: May 2005

How does DNA fit into the nucleus of a cell?

As your question implies, if the DNA in one of your cells was stretched out, it would be over 3 feet long. The DNA is coiled around histone protein complexes called nucleosomes which effectively decreases the length of the DNA molecules (analogous to a slinky toy). The histone proteins are positively charged due to the amino acids lysine and arginine and the DNA is negatively charged due to the phosphate groups.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory