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n :  any of the usu. linear bodies of the cell nucleus of eukaryotic organisms, the usu. circular bodies of prokaryotic organisms (as bacteria), or esp. in some schools of molecular biology the genomes of DNA viruses (as bacteriophages) that take up basophilic stains and contain most or all of the genes of the organism <both the s of cells and those of viruses can duplicate only in the complex environment of a living cell -J. D. Watson>  <an episome, an element that may exist as a free circular plasmid, or that may become integrated into the bacterial as a linear sequence -Benjamin Lewin>  chro*mo*som*al adj chro*mo*som*al*ly adv 
Similar sounding terms:  Y chromosome 

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