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why do hela cells have abnormal numbers or chromosome structure?

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  • 9 years ago
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    Cells normally die if the chromosome number gets out of whack. HeLa cells have a mutation that allows them to live even though their DNA is messed up (in other words they are a tumor cell). These cells no longer have a check on them to make sure their chromosome number is normal so the cells keep dividing even if they mess up their chromosomes. Over time, they get more and more messed up.

    Most tumor derived cell lines used in labs have abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

    Source(s): Personal experience. I am a scientist
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  • 9 years ago

    There exists an abnormal number of them because they're cancerous cells that were taken from a lady (HeLa) with cervical cancer.

    Scientists let them multiply into large numbers so that they could study them.

    The cells are over sixty years old even though their original owner died in the 1950s.

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