Why Do We Have Less Chromosomes Than Some Plants?

Humans have 46 chromosomes. Potatoes (and chimpanzees) have 48. But chromosome count says nothing about an organism's complexity: hermit crabs have more than 200! Chromosomes can duplicate or fuse throughout a species' tenure on Earth, and this doesn't typically have any adverse effects. This is because neither process fundamentally changes an organism's genetic material-it just shuffles some of it to a different place, or creates a copy.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Humans have 46 chromosomes, whereas chimps have 48. 00:46

  2. When repair proteins connect the wrong strands of DNA, two chromosomes can become fused. 01:36

  3. Adder's tongue boasts more chromosomes than any other plant: 1,260. 02:56

Written By
Curiosity Staff
April 21, 2016