Traits of a new individual are determined by specific genes on chromosomes inherited from the father and the mother. Humans have approximately 35,000 genes on 46 chromosomes. Genes on the same chromosome tend to be inherited together and so are known as linked genes. In somatic cells, chromosomes appear as 23 homologous pairs to form the diploid number of 46. There are 22 pairs of matching chromosomes, the autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes. If the sex pair is XX, the individual is genetically female; if the pair is XY, the individual is genetically male. One chromosome of each pair is derived from the maternal gamete, the oocyte, and one from the paternal gamete, the sperm. Thus each gamete contains a haploid number of 23 chromosomes, and the union of the gametes at fertilization restores the diploid number of 46.
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