What is the difference between genes and chromosomes?
An easy way of thinking about a chromosome is as a “package” filled with many genes. The human body is made up of millions of cells. There are many different types of cells such as brain cells, muscle cells, and skin cells. Most cells in the body contain chromosomes. Each of these cells holds 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 total). One member of each pair is inherited from the mother and the other from the father. Genes are located on chromosomes and, thus, are passed from both parents to the child. Genes, in turn, are made up of a substance called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Genes give the cell instructions to make proteins, which are necessary for the body to do all the things that it does. That sounds so complicated. What if something goes wrong? It is complicated. Genes can be altered in many ways. Changes in the DNA that cause a protein to not work normally or stop working altogether are called “mutations.” Environmental factors can also affect the way cells work. Some mutations may