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Explore your genome - The solution

Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2011

If you've received your 'Explore your genome' fridge magnet set, did you find all the matching pairs of chromosomes? You can see how well you did by referring to the 'Female' and 'Male' versions below

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Female

Female version of chromosome set Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University

You should have found that your genome contains 46 chromosomes in total. Using the patterns of bands along each chromosome to find matching pairs, you will have found 23 pairs in total. By using the overall lengths to order the pairs, you will most likely have come up with the right answer.  You may have noticed that chromosomes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and the two X chromosomes are approximately the same size, but you could use the pattern of bands and the location of the centromere to help you distinguish the pairs.

By comparing the bands with those on the accompanying sheet you should have been able to identify each chromosome number. This can be tricky for the smaller chromosomes. Scientists use similar images of human chromosomes when they draw maps of the human genome.

Each of your cells carries another piece of genetic material called mitochondrial DNA but these are too small to see under a microscope, being about 1/10,000th the size of the X chromosome. Each cell contains several hundred of these and you inherited them from your mother.

 

Male

Male version of chromosome set Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University

You should have found that your genome contains 46 chromosomes in total. Using the patterns of bands along each chromosome to find matching pairs, you will have found 22 pairs in total. By using the overall lengths to order the pairs, you will most likely have come up with the right answer. You may have noticed that chromosomes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 are approximately the same size, but you could use the pattern of bands and the location of the centromere to help you distinguish the pairs. You will also have found the X and Y chromosomes, which we count as a pair, and it is the Y chromosome that carries the genetic information that determines a baby will develop as a boy.

By comparing the bands with those on the accompanying sheet you should have been able to identify each chromosome number. This can be tricky for the smaller chromosomes, and the Y chromosome is very similar in size to chromosomes 19, 20, 21 and 22. Scientists use similar images of human chromosomes when they draw maps of the human genome.

Each of your cells carries another piece of genetic material called mitochondrial DNA but these are too small to see under a microscope, being about 1/10,000th the size of the X chromosome. Each cell contains several hundred of these and you inherited them from your mother.

 

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