Please be aware that some programs and video content are temporarily unavailable, as the CEMM transitions to a new website. This content will be available soon but if you have any questions or concerns please contact us here

Genetic Overview


How about we change gears just a little bit and talk about genetics. Back to genetics. We’ve mentioned it as we’ve gone along, but let’s make sure that we’re all on the same sheet of music. So we’ll cover some definitions. First of all, what is that? See that picture. That is a karyotype. That is a karyotype. Amazing. It’s a picture of chromosomes. A picture of chromosomes is a karyotype. Thank you very much, Col. Lawson. You are on it. Thank you. So that’s a human karyotype — a picture of human chromosomes. Can anybody tell me if it’s a male or female? Male. Yeah, it’s a male. It’s a male, Jenny. How do you know? The last one — it’s not the same size. Right. Right. There’s an “x” and a “y” in there, so you women have two of those big long “Xs” and us guys we have one big long “x” and one little “y.” Usually this is about the time the women are saying, “Yeah now I know what the problem is. He’s missing genetic information.” Right? But yeah, that’s a picture of chromosomes and a karyotype.

All right. So what are these chromosomes? They’re like blueprints. If you’re going to go build the house, they’re going to give us the program for building the house. And we have in the human collection of chromosomes 23 pairs of them. So we get one of each pair from mom and one of each pair from dad. Now, one analogy might be that these chromosomes are like different necklaces, okay? You’ve got beads or links in a necklace. The beads and links are like the genes. Individual genes, but the whole necklace is the whole chromosome. Does that make sense? So you have two pearl necklaces, one from mom and one from dad. Two gold chains with big links — you know, same story. Okay, so 23 different pairs. Now, if you talked about the individual links we have more than 25,000 different genes in our genome that are responsible for the blueprints for our body.