The X chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in many animal species, including mammals (the other is the Y chromosome). It is a part of the XY sex-determination system and X0 sex-determination system. The X chromosome was named for its unique properties by early researchers, which resulted in the naming of its counterpart Y chromosome, for the next letter in the alphabet, after it was discovered later.
The sex chromosomes X X are one of the 23 homologous pairs of chromosomes in a female. The X chromosome spans more than 153 million base pairs (the building material of DNA) and represents about 5% of the total DNA in women's cells, 2.5% in men's.
Each person normally has one pair of sex chromosomes in each cell. Females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have one X and one Y chromosome. Both males and females retain one of their mother's X chromosomes, and females retain their second X chromosome from their father. Since the father retains his X chromosome from his mother, a human female has one X chromosome from her paternal grandmother (father's side), and one X chromosome from her mother.
Identifying genes on each chromosome is an active area of genetic research. Because researchers use different approaches to predict the number of genes on each chromosome, the estimated number of genes varies. The X chromosome contains about 2000 genes compared to the Y chromosome containing 78 genes, out of the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 total genes in the human genome. Genetic disorders that are due to mutations in genes on the X chromosome are described as X linked.
The X chromosome carries a couple thousand genes, but few, if any, of these have anything to do directly with sex determination.
Early in embryonic development in females, one of the two X chromosomes is randomly and permanently inactivated in nearly all somatic cells (cells other than egg and sperm cells). This phenomenon is called X-inactivation or Lyonization, and creates a Barr body. X-inactivation ensures that females, like males, have one functional copy of the X chromosome in each body cell. It was previously assumed that only one copy is actively used. However, recent research suggests that the Barr body may be more biologically active than was previously supposed.
It is theorized by Ross et al. 2005 and Ohno 1967 that the X-chromosome is at least partially derived from the autosomal (non-sex-related) genome of other mammals evidenced from interspecies genomic sequence alignments.
The X-chromosome is notably larger and has a more active euchromatin region than its Y-chromosome counterpart. Further comparison of the X and Y reveal regions of homology between the two. However, the corresponding region in the Y appears far shorter and lacks regions that are conserved in the X throughout primate species, implying a genetic degeneration for Y in that region. Because males have only one X-chromosome, they are more likely to have an X chromosome-related disease.
It is estimated that about 10% of the genes encoded by the X-chromosome are associated with a family of "CT" genes, so named because they encode for markers found in both tumor cells (in Cancer patients) as well as in the human testis (in healthy patients). These CT genes found on the X-chromosome are estimated to account for about 90% of all the CT genes encoded within the human genome. Due to their relative abundance, it is, thus, hypothesized that these genes (and thus the X-chromosome) confer evolutionary fitness to human males.
This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article on
All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.