KAIROS, LATIN STOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KAIROS, LATIN STOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of the sex X chromosome carrying the anomaly associated with mental retardation known as fragile X syndrome. The anomaly consists of a slender thread (bottom left) which links the tip of the long arm to the rest of the X chromosome. Such chromosomes are easily broken which is the origin of the syndrome's name. Males, who have only one X chromosome in the cell nucleus, are usually affected while women may carry the genetic defect. They are able to transmit it to their sons, who may become affected, and daughters who in turn become carriers. The males affected are generally tall, have prominent noses and jaws, large testes and are prone to epileptic attacks.
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