Chromosome pair: two meters of DNA per cell

We have two copies of each chromosome. One is from the father and one from the mother. These two equal, but not identical chromosomes together form a  chromosome pair. This does not only work with humans, but with many other organisms. These are the so-called diploid organisms.

23 chromosome pairs

A human body cell contains (in principle) from 23 chromosome pairs. So 23 of these come from the father and 23 from the mother. Together, these chromosome pairs determine your genetic makeup. This includes, for example, your personal characteristics.

Man or woman

So we have 46 chromosomes (23 chromosome pairs). The 23e chromosome pair determines biologically whether you are a man or a woman. The chromosomes are named X and Y. If you have two X chromosomes, you are a woman, and if you have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, you are a man (as shown in the example below).

The properties of a chromosome pair

The chromosomes in a chromosome pair are homologous. Although they are not the same, they are the same size and contain information for the same properties. It contains part of the hereditary material. You actually have 46 different packages that determine who you are. This combination of hereditary characteristics of your parents makes for a unique person.

Chromosomes: two meters of DNA per cell

The genetic material is located in the cell nucleus, in the form of so-called chromosomes. A  chromosome is a long piece of DNA that is coiled in a specific way. If we were to completely unfold the DNA from one cell, you would have about two meters of genetic material. And that while the cell nucleus itself only has a diameter of 0.005 millimeters.

Your own DNA research

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