PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Female human chromosome set. Composite image of the complete set (karyotype) of healthy female human chromosomes. The banding is formed by staining the chromosomes, each of which can be identified by a unique banding pattern. Humans have 46 chromosomes in each of their cell nuclei, consisting of 23 pairs made up of one from each parent. Chromosomes contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which encodes genetic information (in sections called genes) that is passed from parents to their offspring. The final XX chromosome pair (lower right), shows that the person is female. Males have an XY chromosome pair instead, but the Y chromosome is missing here.
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