It might sound like a math problem: knowing that an average human of 70contains more than and that each cell contains 23 pairs of , how much do the ? Impossible at this stage to answer, of course, since it would be necessary to know the relative weight of the chromosomes in each cell. And if we can roughly estimate the amount of , the latter represents only a very small part of the chromosome, the latter being mainly composed of . Researchers from the of the University of London have therefore established another method to obtain the result.
Ian Robinson and his colleagues used the synchrotron Diamond Light Source to bombard the chromosomes of, then measured the spread of when the chromosomes are crossed by the rays. The phase shift produces diagrams of which can then be used to reconstruct a from . Result, the 46 chromosomes of each of our cells weigh 242 picograms (1 picogram is equivalent to 10-12 gramme). « It is 20 times heavier than that they contain, which suggests that certain components of the chromosomes remain to be discovered », observe Ian Robinson. Le of chromosome 1 theoretically weighs 0.87 pg including 0.28 pg of DNA and 0.59 pg of protein. ” Despite over 130 years of chromosome studies, our research shows that there are still parts of these complex structures that are poorly understood. “. A new ” To investigate?