Autosomal chromosomes

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An autosomal chromosome (also known as an autosome) is any chromosome that is not a sex chromosome. Autosomal chromosomes are symmetrically inherited from the parents. Homo sapiens have 44 of them, 22 inherited by the mother and 22 by the father. They carry genetic information and are present in the nucleus of all cells, alongside the sex chromosomes[1].

Diseases and Birth defects

A number of diseases and birth defects can be attributed to the mutated alleles which are situated on them, which includes: Cystic fibrosis, Sickle cell anaemia, Tay-Sachs disease and many more[2].


A more well-known birth defect, known as Trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome) results in nondisjunction, which is when homologous chromosomes do not separate during meiosis. This results in an extra chromosome 21, thus resulting in 45 autosomes. Other trisomies include:


  1. Alberts, Johnson, Lewis, Raff, Roberts, Walter, (2008), Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th edition, New York: Garland Science
  2. (2018). default - Stanford Children's Health. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Oct. 2018].
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