AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between genes and chromosomes?

Posted January 11, 2023


Both genes and chromosomes play equally pivotal roles in holding and transmitting genetic information. There are several significant differences between the two. 


- Genes are located on the chromosome. A single gene has a fixed location or locus on a chromosome. 

- Genes are composed of either DNA or RNA and are not visible under the microscope.  

- Gene mutations are small, sometimes silent. They occur either in DNA replication or consequent DNA damage. Gene mutations include point mutations and frameshift mutations, insertions and deletions.



- Chromosomes are condensed structures made up of nucleic acid and proteins. A single chromosome is made up of many genes.

- Chromosomes are composed of DNA, RNA and proteins and are visible under the microscope.

- Chromosomal mutations occur in homologous recombination and are relatively large. Chromosomal mutations result in chromosomal aberrations such as rearrangement, deletion, duplication, and inversion of genes.

Additional resources

Genomic structure and chromosomal mapping of the human and mouse hippocalcin genes

DNA and RNA Quantitation

Helixyte™ Green Fluorimetric Total Nucleic Acid Quantitation Kit *Optimized for Microplate Readers*