8 Difference between Autosomes and Sex Chromosomes (With Table)

Every living organism has chromosomes in their bodies. But the number of these chromosomes tends to vary from one organism to another. 

For instance, human beings have 46 chromosomes in total where only two are sex chromosomes and the rest 44 are autosomes. A mouse has 40 chromosomes where 38 are autosomes and 2 are sex chromosomes. 

Delayed development and retardation in growth are signs of chromosome abnormalities. These issues happen in both multicellular and unicellular organisms. 

So, what is the main difference between autosomes and sex chromosomes? The former are chromosomes used in determining somatic traits in an individual while the latter are chromosomes used in determining sex and sex-related hormone traits. 

The function difference is a crucial key to help you learn how do autosomes differ from sex chromosomes. Besides that, the information will help you know how many sex chromosomes do humans have. 

This article provides further differences between autosomes and sex chromosomes in a tabular form for easier understanding. Take the time to read through it and learn the relationship between autosomes and sex chromosomes. 

Comparison Table ( Autosomes vs Sex Chromosomes) 

Basic Terms Autosomes Chromosomes Sex Chromosomes
Role Determine somatic traits Sex determination
Label Numerically as 1 to 20 Alphabetical letters such as XY or XX
Cell Division Mitosis Meiosis
Location of Centromere Identical location Different location
Inheritance Mendelian inheritance. Non-mendelian Inheritance
Pair Type Homologous Female are homologous and male are non-homologous
Number of Genes Varies from 200 to 2000. X chromosomes have more than 300 while Y chromosomes have few genes.
Meaning Are chromosomes that regulate somatic traits of a cell Are chromosomes that are meant for sex determination

What Are Autosomes Chromosomes?

Autosomes are non-sex chromosomes present in organisms and they are usually 22 pairs in total number. They are labeled numerically according to shape, size, and other properties.

These non-sex chromosomes are known for transmitting genetic information from the offspring to the parents. These chromosomes are of the same length and even the centromere is located at the same point.

These chromosomes tend to replicate during mitosis to form two daughter cells that have full genetic information from the parent cells.

Each autosome has several genes that tend to perform different functions like determining gender. All these activities happen during cell division.

What Are Sex Chromosomes?

Sex chromosomes are also known as allosomes and they tend to differ in size, shape as well as behavior. According to research, the human body cell has a single pair of sex chromosomes.

These allosomes are named X and Y chromosomes by the scientist. This implies that XX represent female while XY represents the male.

These chromosomes have two arms where the Y chromosome has one long arm and a short arm. The same thing applies to X chromosomes.

Meiosis is the type of cell division that enhances the pairing of X and Y chromosomes together for sex determination.  

Main Difference between Autosomes and Sex Chromosomes  

  1. Autosomes are chromosomes that determine somatic traits while sex chromosomes are meant for sex determination.
  2. Autosomes are numbered numerically from 1 to 22 while sex chromosomes are numbered alphabetically like XY or XX.
  3. Sex chromosomes are few in number while the autosomes are the maximum number in a genome.
  4. Autosomes are chromosomes that are homologous in human beings while sex chromosomes are non-homologous in male and homologous in the female.
  5. The centromere is identical in autosomes while in sex chromosomes are non-identical
  6. Autosomes show Mendelian inheritance while sex chromosomes show Non-Mendelian inheritance.
  7. The number of genes carried in autosomes varies from 200 to 2000 while in sex chromosomes X contains more than 300 and Y has a few numbers.
  8. Autosomes experience mitosis and sex chromosomes meiosis during cell division.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Autosomes and Allosomes?

Autosomes are chromosomes that do not display sex linkages and allosomes usually show sex traits. Besides that, autosomes are responsible for showing the general characteristics of an individual while allosomes display the sex characteristics of a person. 

What is the Function of Autosomes?

Autosomes have 22 pairs of chromosomes responsible for determining the general characteristics of a normal human being. Autosomes also control the inheritance of all organisms except the sex traits. 

What is the Other Name of Autosomes?

It is a diploid cell chromosome that determines the general characteristics of organisms. The DNA in autosomes is also known as either atDNA or auDNA.

Why Do Autosomes Come in Pairs?

Autosomes are diploid cells. It is the main reason why they come in pairs. A ploidy of an organism refers to how many copies of each chromosome it has. 

Where Do Autosomes Come From?

The human body has 23 pairs of chromosomes.  One pair is derived from both mother and father. The other 22 pairs are autosomes and are same in both male and female organisms. 


Chromosomes are found in the nucleus and tend to contain genetic materials. There are about 23 pairs of chromosomes in the human body.

22 pairs are responsible for somatic trains and one pair for sex determination. The 22 pairs represent autosomes while one pair of sex chromosomes. I hope you know how do autosomes differ from sex chromosomes. 

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