How Chromosomes Determine Sex – About

Posted: May 31, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Karyotype of a normal male with 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes. U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program

How Chromosomes Determine Sex:

Chromosomes are long, stringy aggregates of genes that carry heredity information. They are composed of DNA and proteins and are located within the nucleus of our cells. Chromosomes determine everything from hair color and eye color to sex. Whether you are a male or female depends on the presence or absence of certain chromosomes.

Human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46.

There are 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes. The sex chromosomes are the X chromosome and the Y chromosome.

Sex Chromosomes:

In human sexual reproduction, two distinct gametes fuse to form a zygote. Gametes are reproductive cells produced by a type of cell division called meiosis. Gametes are also called sex cells. They contain only one set of chromosomes and are said to be haploid.

The male gamete, called the spermatozoan, is relatively motile and usually has a flagellum. The female gamete, called the ovum, is nonmotile and relatively large in comparison to the male gamete. When the haploid male and female gametes unite in a process called fertilization, they form what is called a zygote. The zygote is diploid, meaning that it contains two sets of chromosomes.

Sex Chromosomes X-Y:

The male gametes or sperm cells in humans and other mammals are heterogametic and contain one of two types of sex chromosomes. They are either X or Y. The female gametes or eggs however, contain only the X sex chromosome and are homogametic.

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How Chromosomes Determine Sex - About

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