DNA packaging in the eukaryotic chromosome reflects how tightly chromatin is bound to proteins such as histones.
Chromatin is found in three states, dependent on the position in the cell cycle.
During mitosis, the chromosome needs to be compact to prevent damage to the DNA during chromosome separation. As a result, DNA is bound tightly to proteins.
During interphase, the chromatin is less compact (the proteins are less tightly bound).
During transcription, transcription factors and RNA polymerase must be able to bind easily. Chromatin is most relaxed at this point.