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How do chromosomes exchange genetic information?

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Quick Answer

Chromosomes exchange genetic information in the form of genes during the process of meiosis. This process creates both egg and sperm cells in females and males, respectively. During meiosis, crossing over occurs between the chromosomes to exchange genetic information and create unique eggs and sperm.

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Meiosis is a process in which egg and sperm cells duplicate to create new egg and sperm cells. The process is broken into meiosis I and meiosis II. During both meiosis I and meiosis II crossing over, or recombination, occurs between the chromosomes. Homologous chromosome exchange DNA through the formation of a chiasma. This structure physically bind the chromosomes together so that their DNA is close to each other.

Genes can then switch from one chromosome to another and complete the process of recombination. This process occurs during both meiosis I and meiosis II to form four unique daughter cells. Each of the daughter cells that are produced during the entire process of meiosis are haploid, meaning they only contain half of the number of chromosomes they need to produce a viable organism. They start out as diploid cells, but during meiosis II the daughter cells undergo reduction division to reduce the number of chromosomes each cell possesses. Then, when the egg and sperm cell meet, the resulting zygote gains a full set of chromosomes.

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