What are chromosomes?

Chromosomes are the structures which hold genes. Genes tell our bodies how to develop and function and govern physical and medical characteristics, like hair color, blood type and vulnerability to diseases.

Where are chromosomes found in the body?

Your body is made up of many different kinds of cells (skin cells, liver cells, blood cells, etc.). In the center of most cells is a structure called the nucleus, inside which chromosomes are located.

How many chromosomes do humans have?

23 pairs (46 in all); one set is inherited from the biological mother, and the other set is inherited from the biological father.

How are chromosomes studied?

Earlier, chromosomes used to be studied under a microscope. In the past decade, newer technology has allowed doctors to screen for chromosomal abnormalities by comparing the patient’s DNA to a normal DNA sample. One such method is noninvasive prenatal screening test.

Does age increase the risk of chromosomal abnormality?

Women are born with their eggs, and scientists believe that errors can crop up in the eggs’ genetic material as they age; therefore, older women are at higher risk of giving birth to babies with chromosomal abnormalities.

How does chromosomal abnormality occur?

They usually occur when there is an error in cell division. Some chromosomal abnormalities can be inherited from a parent. However, most occur as an accident to the egg or sperm due to which the abnormality is present in every cell of the body. Chromosomal abnormalities which affect only some of the cells can also occur after conception.

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