noun, plural: heterochromosomes

A chromosome that is different from an ordinary autosome in form, size, or behavior; a sex chromosome.


Unlike autosomes that are the same in form, size and behavior in both sexes of a species, heterochromosomes are not. In humans, the X and Y chromosomes are an example of such type of chromosome.

Word origin: from Greek heteros meaning different and Greek sôma meaning body.


Compare: autosome

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