A chromosome is a strand of DNA that is encoded with genes. In most cells, humans have 22 pairs of these chromosomes plus the two sex chromosomes (XX in females and XY in males) for a total of 46.

The word chromosome was originally coined in German from the Greek words khroma, meaning color, and soma meaning body. In the late 1800s, a scientist, Wilhelm von Waldeyer-Hartz, gave chromosomes their name because chromosomes easily accept dye and take on patterns of light and dark when exposed to different stains that help identify the different chromosomes.

Definitions of chromosome

n a threadlike strand of DNA in the cell nucleus that carries the genes in a linear order

“humans have 22 chromosome pairs plus two sex chromosomes”
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sex chromosome
(genetics) a chromosome that determines the sex of an individual
autosome, somatic chromosome
any chromosome that is not a sex chromosome; appear in pairs in body cells but as single chromosomes in spermatozoa
acentric chromosome
a chromosome lacking a centromere
acrocentric chromosome
a chromosome with the centromere near one end so that one chromosomal arm is short and one is long
metacentric chromosome
a chromosome having two equal arms because the centromere is in median position
telocentric chromosome
a chromosome like a straight rod with the centromere in terminal position
X chromosome
the sex chromosome that is present in both sexes: singly in males and doubly in females
(genetics) normal complement of sex chromosomes in a female
(genetics) abnormal complement of three X chromosomes in a female
(genetics) abnormal complement of sex hormones in a male resulting in Klinefelter's syndrome
(genetics) normal complement of sex hormones in a male
(genetics) abnormal complement of sex hormones in a male who has two Y chromosomes
Y chromosome
the sex chromosome that is carried by men
Type of:
an individual 3-dimensional object that has mass and that is distinguishable from other objects

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