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Summary

Structures resembling nuclei but depleted of protein may be released by gently lysing cells in solutions containing non-ionic detergents and high concentrations of salt. These nucleoids sediment in gradients containing intercalating agents in a manner characteristic of DNA that is intact, supercoiled and circular. The concentration of salt present during isolation of human nucleoids affects their protein content. When made in I-95 M NaCl they lack histones and most of the proteins characteristic of chromatin; in 1-0 M NaCl they contain variable amounts of histones. The effects of various treatments on nucleoid integrity were investigated.