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B.Sc 1st year

B.Sc 1st year

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Published by: Asma on Dec 18, 2011
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05/13/2014

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Types of Chromosomes

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There are 46 chromosomes in every somatic cell of a human being. Of which 22 pairs (44) are autosomes and the 23rd pair (XX or XY) are sex chromosomes. In 1956, J.H. Tjio and Albert Levan described a technique of chromosomes preparation, which is known as blood or tissue culture techniques. In this technique, the white blood cells from blood or cells separated from small fragments of tissue from any part of the body are cultured in a culture medium. Before cell division, within the nucleus of somatic cells, the chromosomes in a cell are highly dispersed and cannot be observed. An extract from the core of the bean phaseolus (vaal), known as phytohaemagglutinin, when added to the culture medium initiate cell divison in the white blood cells. This medium is then incubated at 370 C in an incubator for 3 days, after which it is removed from the incubator and colchicine is added. Colchicine prevents further cell division and therefore many of the cultured cells are in arrested cell division. Cells in such stages are taken on a slide, stained with different dyes, and chromosome preparations are thus obtained. Any one of these cells which show clear chromosomes is photographed and then the morphology, size shape and position of the centromere are studied. Each chromosome can be observed to have 2 separate chromatid strands held together by centromere. There are four types of chromosomes based upon the position of the centromere. 1) Metacentric : In this type of chromosome the centromere occurs in the centre and all the four chromatids are of equal length. 2) Submetacentric : In this type of chromosome the centromere is a little away from the centre and therefore chromatids of one side are slightly longer than the other side. 3) Acrocentric : In this type of chromosome the centromere is located closer to one end of chromatid therefore the chromatids on opposite side are very long. A small round structure, attached by a very thin thread is observed on the side of shorter chromatid. The small round structure that is a part of the chromatid is termed as satellite. The thin strands at the satellite region are termed as Nucleolar Organiser Region. 4) Telocentric : In this type of chromosome the centromere is placed at one end of the chromatid and hence only one arm. Such telocentric chromosomes are not seen in human cells.

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