October 02, 2021



What are Chromosomes?

Chromosomes are long strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Chromosomes contain genetic information that determines all the characteristics of the organism, from hair color to height. 

In humans, chromosomes can be found in the nucleus (command center) of every cell. 

Humans [normally, unless there is a genetic defect] have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes total). Half of this set (23) comes from the mother and the other half (23) comes from the father. 

Is it okay if chromosomes are abnormal, missing, or doubled?

Chromosomes are created specifically, just like an instruction manual for building a rocket. Changes in chromosomes are devastating. 

Intellectual disabilities and/or birth defects may result from chromosomal abnormalities. 

According to the March of Dimes, less than 1% (0.6%) of babies are born with a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down Syndrome. 

Male and female determined by chromosome given by father.


What do chromosomes have to do with sex/gender?

One of these sets of chromosomes (the 23rd set) determines whether you are a male or female.


The sperm from the father contains either an X chromosome OR a Y chromosome. The egg from the mother only has an X chromosome to give.

The baby needs 1 chromosome from each parent in order to have a full set (XX or XY).

So if the father gives an X and the mother gives an X, the baby will be female (XX). If the father gives a Y and the mother gives an X, the baby will be male (XY). The mother cannot give a Y.

Therefore, the father determines the sex of the child. Female = XX, Male = XY.  

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