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Understanding birth defects - Around the Arch
December 2009 Issue
The image shows cell with a defective meiosis I, leading to aberrant chromosome segregation and chromosome imbalance in progeny. Photo by Xuexian Li At conception, parents provide an embryo with chromosome information—23 each, for a total of 46. But when there are extra copies of chromosomes, or fewer than the normal 46, birth defects can occur. UGA researchers have developed a model system for plants and animals that shows that the loss of a key structural protein can lead to the premature separation of one DNA copy called a chromatid. The new model shows for the first time that the loss of this protein can lead to birth disorders caused by extra or too few chromosomes. Best known may be Down syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. Many errors in chromosome transmission are so severe that miscarriages usually occur. “As we know, human females have all the eggs they will ever have from the time …
Read full article at http://uga.edu/gm/ee/index.php?/single/2009/12/653/.
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