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2. Chromosome Nondisjunction

When cell division fails, experts describe it as nondisjunction. When a cell fails to divide during meiosis properly, the resulting egg or sperm may have a second copy of one of the chromosomes. After fertilization, the resulting embryo will have three copies of a single chromosome. This can have many effects, depending on the extra chromosome. Some trisomies prevent an embryo from developing at all. Copies of smaller chromosomes may cause developmental issues that shorten an individual's lifespan.

chromosome sex division BlackJack3D / Getty Images
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