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A 23-year-old male asked:

When a child is born with extra chromosomes is that a genetic trait from the father side or the mother side? or can it go both ways?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 51 years experience
A genetic accident: Human cells normally get 1/2 their chromosomes (chr.) from father's sperm paired with the other 1/2 from mother's egg. An error in division of either sperm or egg can cause the fetus to have an extra chr., most commonly in live births on 13, 18 and 21, causing unusual physical features, intellectual disability & organ malformations. One parent may or may not have a balanced rearrangement of chr.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 years experience
Both but not a trait: During formation of either egg or sperm (gametes), the chromosome (c) pairs that make up the normal cell separate & each gamete is supposed to have 1/2 of a pair. If any pair does not separate, three rather than a pair of that c be in the embryo. Having an extra c in every cell of the fetus confuses development.Miscarriage or birth defects often occur.This is not a trait but an error in whole cms.

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Last updated Dec 9, 2013

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