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Question Video: Identifying the Number of Sex Chromosomes in a Human Body Cell Biology

The majority of human chromosomes are known as autosomes. How many chromosomes in a human karyotype of a somatic (body) cell are sex chromosomes?

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Video Transcript

The majority of human chromosomes are known as autosomes. How many chromosomes in a human karyotype of a somatic, body, cell are sex chromosomes?

Chromosomes are the structures within humans that contain our genetic information in the form of genes. We can visualize the chromosomes in a cell by using a karyotype. Let’s take a look at a karyotype of a human body cell.

In human body cells, also known as somatic cells, there are 46 chromosomes arranged into 23 pairs. The majority of these chromosomes are autosomes, which means they are not sex chromosomes. These autosomes are numbered 1 to 22 and are arranged in descending size order. 22 pairs of autosomes means there are 44 in total.

The remaining two chromosomes found in a typical body cell of a human are the sex chromosomes. These chromosomes contain genes that are important in the sexual development of humans. A human male will typically have the combination XY as shown here, and a human female the combination XX. As you can see, the X chromosome is considerably larger than the Y.

Looking back at our question, we can now determine that the number of chromosomes in a human body cell that are sex chromosomes is two.

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