The human body contains billions of cells. There are 46 chromosomes in each cell. These chromosomes follow a number and an arrangement pattern. There are 23 matching pairs. The last pair determines sex.
Females have an XX chromosome and males have XY. The normal female karyotype is 46 XX and the male 46 XY.
The cell can be divided and subdivided into sections. A centromere divides the cell into two unequal halves. The smaller section is called the short arm or p arm and the larger section the long arm or q arm. Each of these arms could be divided into patterned bands light and dark, each of which is numbered. The number depicts its location on the arm of the chromosome. This arranged pattern is termed a karyotype. Each of the chromosomes has features that distinguish it from another in size, location and the pattern of light and dark bands.
The chromosomes have small molecules called DNA. The DNA molecule contains genes which depict hereditary characteristics as color and type of hair, color of the skin and eyes etc. They are pointers to the growth and development of the individual and are indicators to the building and maintenance of an individual’s body.
The ends of each chromosome arm are capped and protected. The surrounding area contains genes depicting growth and development.
What goes on with the chromosomes during the reproductive process? Every individual inherits one chromosome in each pair from each of its parents. When conception takes place, there is fusion of the mother’s egg cell and the father’s sperm cell into a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg contains half of the genes from each parent. The gender of the baby is determined from the sex chromosome in the male. The baby will be a male if the sperm carries a Y chromosome and a female if it carries an X.
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