Meiosis is a very intricate process that requires, among other things, the precise alignment of homologous chromosome pairs and correct attachment of microtubules. During meiosis, errors in chromosome distribution may occur and lead to chromosomal aberrations in the offspring. One example is Down syndrome, where affected children carry three copies of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21). This may be explained by the failure of paired chromosomes or sister chromatids to separate in either sperm or egg, leading to the presence of two copies of chromosome 21. After fertilization with a normal gamete, the zygote will carry three copies, which leads to several phenotypic abnormalities, including mental retardation.
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