Why Do We Have Less Chromosomes Than Some Plants?

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. (0:46)

  • 2

    When repair proteins connect the wrong strands of DNA, two chromosomes can become fused. (1:36)

  • 3

    Adder's tongue boasts more chromosomes than any other plant: 1,260. (2:56)

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