Chromosomes And The Genetic Design

Both egg and sperm contain important genetic material. The reason that the egg is so much bigger than the sperm is because the egg contains both genetic material plus nourishment supplies to support the developing embryo. In contrast, sperm are almost entirely little bags of genetic material, propelled by a tail.

Chromosomes are the important genetic material that provides the personal traits and characteristics of every individual. With the exception of the egg and the sperm, every cell within the human body contains 46 chromosomes (23 pairs). The egg and the sperm each contain 23 chromosomes. When combined together, they form the required 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) for a new human being. The newly formed human being receives half of its genetic material from the mother and the other half from the father.

Of the 23 chromosomes within the egg and the sperm, 22 of the chromosomes determine various characteristics and traits of the individual (eye color, intelligence, hair color, and so on). The 23rd chromosome is considered the sex chromosome because it determines the sex of the baby. Within the egg, the sex chromosome is always an X chromosome. Within the sperm, the sex chromosome may be either an X chromosome or a Y chromosome. If the egg and sperm that combine each have an X chromosome, the baby will be a female, or XX. However, the baby will be a male, or XY, if the egg has an X chromosome and the sperm has a Y chromosome. This is why it is the sperm that determines the sex of the baby.

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