I cannot find an article that describes the gene distribution based on their appearances on different strands and if I find one, like this from 2007, there are some aspects which are confusing, for instance:

A total of 12,692 loci were present on the positive strand, with 12,442 on the negative strand.

How are positive and negative strands determined in general if we are not talking about a particular gene at a particular locus?

Aren't both strands similar in a way that we can not name one as a sense, antisense, template, or coding? Are not both strands in a chromosome used for transcription in a symmetric way?

Any article related to my main question (in the headline) or explanation about this confusion in this article would help.


1 Answer 1


For humans and other eukaryotes, the convention is that the "start" of each chromosome is the end closest to the centromere:

In all human reference chromosomes, as for other eukaryotes [3], the plus (+) strand is defined as the strand with its 5′ end at the tip of the short arm [4,5] (Genome Reference Consortium, personal communication, March 27, 2012).



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