PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Female XX chromosomes. Computer artwork of female XX chromosomes with the female symbol (lower right). An individual's sex is determined by the presence or absence of the Y chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, while men have an X and a Y. Chromosomes are a condensed form of the genetic material DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The DNA condenses into chromosomes during cell replication for ease of division and transport into the new cell. Each chromosome consists of two identical strands (chromatids), aligned parallel to each other and joined at an area called a centromere. The banding is formed by staining the chromosome. Each of the 46 human chromosomes can be identified by a unique banding pattern.
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