Team Gene: Chromosomal Marathon

Image by Hey Paul Studios

Chromosomes are long, threadlike structures made of a single molecule of DNA that contains all or part of an organism’s genetic material. In most chromosomes proteins coat the DNA fibers, in order to bind and condense the molecule to help it retain integrity, which gives it a complex 3D structural appearance.

The term chromosome comes from the Greek words for color (chroma) and body (soma). Chromosomes received this slightly odd name due to the fact that they can be brightly stained by certain dyes used during scientific research.

Humans typically have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 total), but the total number of chromosomes can vary widely by species. The Australian ant, for example, has the fewest number of chromosomes, with the male ant having only 1, and the female ant sporting a pair of chromosomes. More chromosomes doesn’t always mean better however, just take a look at the unsuspecting adder’s-tongue fern, which comes in with a whopping 1260 chromosomes!

In humans, half of each chromosomal pair is inherited from one parent, while the other half is inherited from the other parent. The chromosomes you received from each parent were also mixed up during a process called meiosis, which is why you don’t look like a carbon copy of your siblings (unless you’re an identical twin, that is).

Chomosomes are the building blocks of humans, and all living organisms. Take a bit of inspiration from them as you do your own building on our Eyewire cells during this final leg of the competition! Starting at 10:00 AM ET on 5/24, you will have 24 hours to complete one or more cells. Bonus & cell renaming information can be found in your in-game notifications.

Swag: The player who has earned the most points during the marathon (not the most cubes) wins the choice of a notebook or a mug, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place will each also win a sticker/magnet set.