From nucleo- + -some, and to evoke the older name nu body. Coined by P. Oudet et al. in 1975 (see quotation below).
nucleosome (plural nucleosomes)
- (genetics) Any of the subunits that repeat in chromatin; a coil of DNA surrounding a histone core.
1975, “Electron Microscopic and Biochemical Evidence that Chromosome Structure Is a Repeating Unit”, in Cell, PMID 1122558, page 9:
We have termed these particles “nucleosomes,” to evoke their nuclear origin and their resemblance to the “nu” (ν) bodies described by Olins and Olins (1974).
repeating subunit in chromatin