Genetics Info & Tutorial: Chromosome Pairs
Genetics For Herpers

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When animals reproduce, the chromosomes are copied and given to the offspring. If each animal only had one copy of each chromosome, it would only have one parent, and it would look exactly like its parent. But we know this is not the case.

Chromosomes are present in pairs in all animals. Since the father has a pair of each, and the mother has a pair of each, they can only pass down one of their chromosomes from each pair, otherwise the offspring would then have 2 pairs, and their offspring would have 4 pairs, etc. The result is that each parent canít give ALL of its genetic material to its offspring, only half of it.

Eggs and sperm donít have pairs of chromosomes, each has only one copy.
In animals that reproduce sexually (by sperm and egg) each chromosome pair is made up of one copied from the animalís mother, and one copied from the animalís father.

Notice how different the siblings can be.

When the sperm fertilizes the egg, it creates paired-up chromosomes in the new cell. As you can see in the above picture, the result is an animal that has half of its motherís genes and half of its fatherís genes. This is why you donít look exactly like either of your parents, and why thereís so much variety in animals of the same species.

Get more details with the book Genetics For Herpers!
It's 84 pages of illustrated genetics fun!
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