How do DNA, genes, and chromosomes work together to pass characteristics from parents to offspring?

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marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Inside every cell in your body are little "blueprints" that make you what you are! Those "blueprints," called DNA, contain everything necessary to sustain human life as well as physical traits that make you unique. The color of your hair, skin, and eyes; how tall or short you are; whether you're a man or a woman; the dimple in your chin; the bushy eyebrows-all these traits are passed on to you from your parents.

Inside the spiral-shaped DNA molecule are 26 pair of x-shaped chromosomes comprised of genes (little complex, protein packages that determine heredity). As a cell divides, the DNA molecule splits into equal halves and each half becomes part of a new cell. In human reproduction, a female egg (13 pair of chromosomes) joins up with a male sperm cell (13 pair of chromosomes), bringing the total number back up to 26 pair again.

It is my personal opinion that the miracle of life at the microscopic, cellular level is a fascinating, awe-inspiring, complex process! We are still discovering new and wonderful things about it all the time.

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