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Los cromosomas son estructuras que se encuentran en el centro (núcleo) de las células que transportan fragmentos largos de ADN. El ADN es el material que contiene los genes y es el pilar fundamental del cuerpo humano.

Los cromosomas también contienen proteínas que ayudan al ADN a existir en la forma apropiada.

Nombres alternativos


Los cromosomas vienen en pares. Normalmente, cada célula en el cuerpo humano tiene 23 pares de cromosomas (46 cromosomas en total), de los cuales la mitad proviene de la madre y la otra mitad del padre.

Dos de los cromosomas, el X y el Y, determinan si usted nace como niño o como niña (sexo) y se denominan cromosomas sexuales.

  • Las mujeres tienen 2 cromosomas X.
  • Los hombres tienen un cromosoma X y uno Y.

La madre le aporta un cromosoma X al hijo, mientras que el padre puede contribuir ya sea con un cromosoma X o con un cromosoma Y. Es el cromosoma del padre el que determina si el bebé es un niño o una niña.

Los cromosomas restantes se denominan autosómicos y se conocen como pares de cromosomas del 1 al 22.


Stein CK. Applications of Cytogenetics in Modern Pathology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds.Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 68.

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  • Last reviewed on 1/13/2013
  • David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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This page was last updated: May 20, 2014

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