is one of two identical copies of DNA making up a replicated chromosome
, which are joined at their centromeres
, for the process of cell division
). The term is used so long as the centromeres remain in contact. When they separate (during anaphase
of mitosis and anaphase 2 of meiosis), the strands are called daughter-chromosomes
In other words, a chromatid is "one-half of a replicated chromosome". It should not be confused with the ploidy of an organism, which is the number of homologous versions of a chromosome.
In humans, for example, there are normally 23 pairs of homologous chromosomes in each cell (N=23). However, the quantity of chromatids will be a multiple of 23. It can be either 4N, 2N or 1N. N does not refer to haploid or diploid; it refers to the number of chromatids in the cell as a multiple of the haploid number of chromosomes for the organism. For example, because a human haploid germ cell has 23 chromosomes, then "N" refers to a multiple of 23. (e.g. 2N=46 chromatids). The last is only seen in haploid
gametes, with only one of each homologous chromosome pair. Such are created in gametogenesis
In a cell with 4N chromatids, there are 23 chromosome pairs (46 chromosomes), and each chromosome has 2 chromatids. Thus, there are 92 chromatids in each cell (4N). It occurs after the S phase of interphase. (See cell cycle
Immediately after a mitosis
, where a cell has divided in two, but not yet duplicated its DNA in S phase, there are still 23 chromosome pairs (46 chromosomes). However, each chromosome only has one chromatid. Thus there are 46 chromatids (2xN)
Alternatively, a haploid cell with two chromatids per chromosome also has 46 chromatids. However, this doesn't occur naturally in humans.
Immediately after meiosis
, each cell, called a gamete
, only has half the amount of chromosomes (23 chromosomes). Furthermore, each chromosome only has one chromatid. Thus, there are 23 chromatids (1xN)
The term chromatid
was proposed by Clarence Erwin McClung
(1900) for each of the four threads making up a chromosome
-pair during meiosis
. It was later used also for mitosis
The term derives from the Greek chroma (colour); for the derivation of -id, see cytokinesis.