ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Computer graphics illustration of a pair of sex chromosomes from a human male cell. In many species, sex determination is governed by the two sex chromosomes (X and Y). In mammals, some plants and a few insects, males are XY and females XX. In this case, the chromosome on the left is X and the one on the right is Y. Each cell in the human body contains 46 chromosomes; 22 matched pairs and the sex-determining pair. Chromosomes are made from proteins (principally histones), DNA and small amounts of RNA. The chromosomes carry the genes which determine the characteristics of the individual. A light micrograph of a set of chromosomes forms the background of this image.
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