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Diploid and Haploid Cells

Cells having two sets of chromosomes are diploid. Diploid cells have two autosomes for each homologous pair. Diploid cells also have two sex chromosomes in animals, including humans, and in many other organisms that have sex chromosomes. All human cells, except reproductive cells (sperm cells and egg cells), are normally diploid cells. Diploid is commonly abbreviated as 2n. In humans, the diploid, or 2n, number of chromosomes is 46—22 pairs of homologous autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes.

Sperm cells and egg cells are haploid cells, which contain only one set of chromosomes. Haploid cells have half the number of chromosomes that are present in diploid cells. Thus, haploid cells have only one autosome of each homologous pair and only one sex chromosome (23 total). Haploid is abbreviated as 1n. When a sperm cell (1n) and an egg cell (1n) combine to create the first cell of a new organism, the new cell will be diploid (2n). If the reproductive cells were diploid, the new cell would have too many chromosomes and would not be functional.

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