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Y chromosome

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Y chromosome/en/Image The human Y chromosome is a male-specific sex chromosome. Nearly all humans who possess a Y chromosome will be morphologically male. Although the Y chromosome is situated in the cell nucleus, it only recombines with the X-chromosome at the ends of the Y chromosome; the vast majority of the Y chromosome (95%) does not recombine. When mutations (errors in the copying process) arise in the Y chromosome in the form of single-nucleotide polymorphisms) or short tandem repeats, they are passed down directly from father to son in a direct male line of descent. This line is known as the patriline.

The Genome Reference Consortium maintains the reference assembly of the human genome. The GRC tracks issues relating to the Y chromosome such as gaps and errors in the sequence. Details can be found here. The GRCh37 build of the Y chromosome has a length of 59,373,566 base-pairs, but only 25,653,566 base-pairs are actually positioned. Build 38 (GRCh38) was released on 24 December 2013.[1]

Further reading

Scientific papers

Blog posts


  • Why sex really matters A TED talk by David Page, Director of the Whitehead Institute and Professor of Biology at MIT.


  1. Announcing CRCH38. GenomeRef blog, 24 December 2013.

See also