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In the germ-line (the sex cells) the chromosome number is n (humans: n = 23). So, in normal diploid organisms, autosomal chromosomes are present in two copies. Polyploid cells have multiple copies of chromosomes and haploid cells have single copies.The study of karyotypes is important for cell biology and genetics, and the results may be used in evolutionary biology (karyosystematics) and medicine.Lev Delaunay is applied after cells have been arrested during cell division by a solution of colchicine usually in metaphase or prometaphase when most condensed.In order for the Giemsa stain to adhere correctly, all chromosomal proteins must be digested and removed.In a review, Godfrey and Masters conclude: In our view, it is unlikely that one process or the other can independently account for the wide range of karyotype structures that are observed ...But, used in conjunction with other phylogenetic data, karyotypic fissioning may help to explain dramatic differences in diploid numbers between closely related species, which were previously inexplicable.The low record is held by the nematode Parascaris univalens, where the haploid n = 1; and an ant: Myrmecia pilosula.The existence of supernumerary or B chromosomes means that chromosome number can vary even within one interbreeding population; and aneuploids are another example, though in this case they would not be regarded as normal members of the population.
Aneuploidy is the condition in which the chromosome number in the cells is not the typical number for the species.
Normal karyotypes for females contain two X chromosomes and are denoted 46, XX; males have both an X and a Y chromosome denoted 46, XY.
Any variation from the standard karyotype may lead to developmental abnormalities.
The chromosomes are depicted (by rearranging a photomicrograph) in a standard format known as a karyogram or idiogram: in pairs, ordered by size and position of centromere for chromosomes of the same size.
The basic number of chromosomes in the somatic cells of an individual or a species is called the somatic number and is designated 2n.The sex of an unborn fetus can be determined by observation of interphase cells (see amniotic centesis and Barr body).