Y chromosome

Synonyms: Sex chromosome

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

The Y chromosome is a sex chromosome, which determines gender. Typically, each cell in the body has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or a total of 46, with one pair of sex chromosomes.  Males typically have one X and one Y; females typically have two X chromosomes.

In Our Own Words

The Y chromosome is one of the sex chromosomes. The other is the X chromosome. Each cell in the body typically has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or a total of 46. One pair are sex chromosomes. Men typically have one Y and one X; women typically have two X chromosomes. Chromosomes have the DNA that regulates how the body grows and functions. The X and Y chromosomes are the genetic material that determines if a person becomes male or female.

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  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Genetic Testing and Male Factor Infertility." Diseases & Conditions. May 2013. http://my.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed November 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Chromosome." Medical encyclopedia. May 2013. http://umm.edu. Accessed November 2013.
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