DNA, RNA, and Chromosomes

When were chromosomes first observed?

Chromosomes were observed as early as 1872, when Edmund Russow (1841–1897) described seeing items that resembled small rods during cell division; he named the rods “Stäbchen.” Edouard van Beneden (1846–1910) used the term bâtonnet in 1875 to describe nuclear duplication. The following year, 1876, Edouard Balbiani (1825–1899) described that at the time of cell division the nucleus dissolved into a collection of bâtonnets étroits (“narrow little rods”). Walther Flemming (1843–1905) discovered that the chromosomal “threads” or Fäden split longitudinally during mitosis.


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