Difference Between Sex Chromosomes and Autosomes Explained

Although these two terms aren’t used together during most of the medical classes, a lot of students still ask about the difference between Sex Chromosomes and Autosomes. When we have a look at the basics definition, it tells us that an autosome is not a sex chromosome and that stands as the major difference between the two.

So in this article, we are going to clarify the difference between an autosome and a sex chromosome. For that, we shall cover the basic definitions of these two terms, their functions, and this is how we will be telling the difference between the two. So without any further delay, we shall begin.

Autosomes: Definition and Function.

As far as the basic definition of an autosome is concerned, it is said to be any chromosome is which not a sex chromosome. Thus all sex chromosomes are not autosomes. As far as the family of autosomes is concerned, they are pair in a diploid cell. Also, they have the same morphology. Some autosomes may vary in their structure in some rare conditions.

Even though autosomes are not sex chromosomes, they can still carry some of the functions related to sex such as sexual determination genes, etc. Based on their based pairs, these chromosomes can be paired and numbered from 1 to 22. There are many genetic disorders which can happen if something goes wrong with these chromosomes.

The main function an autosome is to store thousands of genes and each of these genes will be performing a different function. Unless it is something very critical where these chromosomes might deviate, the autosomes will follow a usual trail or map in the normal circumstances.

Sex Chromosomes: Definition and Function:

As it is quite clear from their name, sex chromosomes work to determine the sex of an organism. It is very different from an autosome or other ordinary chromosomes based on its shape, size, and behavior. These chromosomes are created in human beings during the reproduction stages and thus perform to determine the sex of the baby that is to born.

In the biological terms, the Sex Chromosomes are often referred to as XX or XY chromosomes. This pairing has different meanings for different pairs. As we know from our biology classes, there are a total of 23 pairs of chromosomes where the first 22 pairs are autosomes and these are not sex chromosomes as we already know from this article.

As far as females are concerned, we also that they have only 23 pairs of homologous chromosomes while males have only 22. In any of the individual sperms, an X or Y chromosome can always be present since it is the only location where they can be found. We shall now move towards the summary of the major differences.

Summary of difference between Sex Chromosomes and Autosomes:

  • An autosome is not a sex chromosome.
  • Out of 23 pairs, 22 pairs are autosomes and only one sex chromosome pair.
  • X is only present in Ovum while both X and Y can be present in the individual sperm.

So these were the major differences between sex chromosomes and autosomes. To remove more of such conceptual confusion, keep visiting our website.

Leave a Comment