Cheek cells are generally irregularly shaped and are always flat cells. The cells are made up of many parts including a very thin membrane on the outer part of the cell.
Cheek cells are among the most popular cells that are studied in a classroom setting because they can be obtained from a person in a minimally invasive way. They are easy to view under a microscope and can give students an idea of what is truly going on in their mouths. Cheek cells are also used to help identify a person by using the DNA that is contained within the cells.
Barr bodies are inactivated X chromosomes that are usually only found in women. These Barr bodies are found in the cheek cells and can be used to help determine the sex of a person. This is especially useful for children who are born with both types of genitalia. If a child is found to have Barr bodies, they will then be considered to be a female. If a child does not have any Barr bodies present in the cells that are obtained from the cheeks, the child will then be considered to be a male. Cheek cells can also help to determine whether a person will be more prone to high blood pressure.