Slide show: How genetic disorders are inherited
Illustration of the human chromosomes
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Most cells in your body normally contain 46 chromosomes, organized into 23 pairs. In each of these 23 pairs, you've inherited one chromosome from your father and one from your mother. Of these 23 pairs, 22 pairs are nonsex chromosomes (autosomes) and the one remaining pair is made up of sex chromosomes, which determine whether you're male (XY) or female (XX). This illustration shows chromosomes from a male cell.

Disorders may have a dominant or recessive inheritance pattern. Dominant inheritance implies that only one copy of the gene needs to have a mutation for the trait or disease to be expressed. Recessive inheritance implies the trait or disease will only occur if both copies of the gene are mutated.

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