How are sex cells different from somatic cells on the basis of chromosomes?  

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Sex cells are specialized cells called gametes.  There are two types of gametes involved in sexual reproduction, sperm, produced by the testes in males, and ova, or ovum, produced in the ovaries of females.  The basic difference between the chromosome count of gametes and other somatic types of cells is...

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Sex cells are specialized cells called gametes.  There are two types of gametes involved in sexual reproduction, sperm, produced by the testes in males, and ova, or ovum, produced in the ovaries of females.  The basic difference between the chromosome count of gametes and other somatic types of cells is that the gametes have what is referred to as a haploid number of chromosomes, while the somatic cells have a diploid number.  Haploid means the normal chromosome count is divided by one half, while diploid would be the full count of chromosomes.  In humans, the diploid count is 46 chromosomes, while the haploid count is half of that, or 23 chromosomes. 

An ovum with 23 chromosomes is fertilized by a sperm that also has 23 chromosomes.  This "half-count" is very important, as 23 plus 23 will equal 46 chromosomes for a fertilized ovum, now called a zygote.  The zygote will continue to cellularly divide and develop into a new human being, with cells having 46 chromosomes in each of them.

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