Disorders in Chromosome Number
Of all of the chromosomal disorders, abnormalities in chromosome number are the most obviously identifiable from a karyogram. Disorders of chromosome number include the duplication or loss of entire chromosomes, as well as changes in the number of complete sets of chromosomes. They are caused by nondisjunction, which occurs when pairs of homologous chromosomes or sister chromatids fail to separate during meiosis. Misaligned or incomplete synapsis, or a dysfunction of the spindle apparatus that facilitates chromosome migration, can cause nondisjunction. The risk of nondisjunction occurring increases with the age of the parents.
Nondisjunction can occur during either meiosis I or II, with differing results (see the figure below). If homologous chromosomes fail to separate during meiosis I, the result is two gametes that lack that particular chromosome and two gametes with two copies of the chromosome. If sister chromatids fail to separate during meiosis II, the result is one gamete that lacks that chromosome, two normal gametes with one copy of the chromosome, and one gamete with two copies of the chromosome.
Which of the following statements about nondisjunction is true?
- Nondisjunction only results in gametes with n+1 or n–1 chromosomes.
- Nondisjunction occurring during meiosis II results in 50 percent normal gametes.
- Nondisjunction during meiosis I results in 50 percent normal gametes.
- Nondisjunction always results in four different kinds of gametes.
Nondisjunction occurring during meiosis II results in 50 percent normal gametes.