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What is the function of chromosomes?

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Quick Answer

Reference.com says that the function of chromosomes is to carry hereditary information. Chromosomes are located in the nucleus of a cell, and when a cell divides, so do the chromosomes.

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What is the function of chromosomes?
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Full Answer

Chromosomes contain both DNA and protein, Genetics Home Reference states. These tightly packed, thread-like structures remain in the nucleus until the cell divides. When division occurs, according to lecture materials provided by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the chromosome has an x-like structure and is made up of two chromatids, which are two duplicated chromosome, connected by a centromere. This division, called mitosis, has five stages: interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. During these stages, the chromosomes duplicate themselves, line up in the middle of the cell and are pulled apart by spindles that are attached to the centromeres. Half the chromosomes go to one end of the cell, and the other half go to the other end, at which point the cell splits in two.

According to HowStuffWorks, human beings have 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs of chromosomes. During meiosis, which is similar to mitosis but occurs in sex cells, each new cell contains only 23 chromosomes. This occurs because a female sex cell and a male sex cell unite, each with 23 chromosomes in order to make the regular 46.

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