Why people have 23 pairs of chromosomes?

More of school biology course we know that in the normal formation of the human body (read: without the various congenital abnormalities), most of our genetic information encoded in the 23 pairs of chromosomes. But have you ever wondered why these couples is 23? Why not 24, 25 or even 16? And anyway, why are chromosomes that is an even number? Let’s deal.


DNA and chromosomes

To understand what a chromosome is, you first need to understand what DNA is. DNA is a complex molecule found in all plants and animals. It is contained in almost every cell in the body carries all the information needed to sustain the body, ensure all internal processes and, most importantly, for reproduction. DNA is the main method of transmission of hereditary information and in the process of reproduction DNA is passed from both parents to offspring.

See also: NASA helped create a new look with one giant chromosome

Such a huge amount of information, which carries our DNA, it must take quite a lot of places. And indeed it is. If the “stretch” of DNA contained in just one cell, its length will be about 2 meters. And our body has quite a clever system of packaging this amount of data. And helps in this chromosome.


Why is 23 pairs of chromosomes

It is worth noting that the number of 23 pairs of chromosomes is not universal among all living beings. First, humans are “diploid” species, which means that most of our chromosomes form matched pairs (although there are also species in which the number of chromosomes is odd). This simplifies the storage of information. However, the complexity of the organization of the species does not depend on the number of pairs of chromosomes. For example, some species of frogs, 18 pairs of chromosomes, and shrimp have 90 pairs!

Who would have thought, but the tiny pairs of chromosomes more than humans

“Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, while apes (chimps, gorillas and orangutans) have 24 pairs of chromosomes,” says researcher at the National research Institute human genome Belen Hell. “This is because in the evolutionary line of man, two of the chromosomes of the ancestors of apes were merged into one. Thus, in humans one pair of chromosomes less. This is one of the main differences between the human genome and the genome of our closest relatives. We can say that this number is due to the historically. In this case, it is undeniable that the number of chromosomes in ancestors had others, but this set of genes did not allow them to exist normally and therefore organisms “had to” evolve.”

What happens if the number of chromosomes will change

The increase or decrease in the number of chromosomes in an adult organism to happen can’t. But it can happen in the formation of the fetus in the womb. One of the most common forms of pathology of chromosomes is trisomy, which is the presence of an extra chromosome in the cells. One of the well known results of trisomy is down syndrome, which is a condition caused by the presence of three (instead of two) chromosomes in the 21st pair. The loss of one chromosome in the cell is called monosomies and describes a condition in which people have only one copy of a particular chromosome per cell instead of two.

In this case an odd number of chromosomes makes it difficult to read information or disturb the operation of some systems (for example, the absence of sex chromosomes in a number of congenital diseases can not have offspring). Thus, historically formed the number 23 pairs of chromosomes allows us to live on this planet and to preserve the integrity of our species.