BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the whole metaphase spread of human chromosomes. Metaphase is the stage of mitosis when the chromosomes line up along the equator of a cell before cell division. Here, the 23 paternal and 23 maternal chromosomes can be seen. Every human cell contains 46 chromosomes, which are normally found in the cell nucleus (upper right). Chromosomes carry genetic information in the form of genes. Each chromosome consists of two strands (chroma- tids) which split during cell division. Afterwards they are able to make exact copies of themselves so that every body cell is genetically identical. Magnification: x1,600 at 35mm size.
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