We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Biology

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Diploid?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated: May 21, 2024

Diploid is a term which is used to describe a cell which contains two complete sets of chromosomes. Most mammals, including humans, have primarily diploid cells. The umbrella term “ploidy” is used to refer generically to the number of sets of chromosomes in a cell, and animals can exhibit a wide variety of forms of ploidy. A haploid cell, for instance, has only one set of chromosomes, while a tetraploid cell has four.

The chromosomes contain genetic material which is used to code an organism, like a set of blueprints for life. A single diploid stem cell can multiply and divide itself into an entire organism under the right conditions, and when that organism is born, its cells will continue to multiply and divide until death occurs. Diploid cells can also split to create haploid cells which contain half of the genetic material of the parent cell. These haploid cells can be used in reproduction, with two haploid cells from different parents coming together to create a single diploid stem cell which mixes the genetic material of the parents.

With the exception of the germ cells in the testes and ovaries, all of the cells in the human body are diploid in nature, with a complete set of genetic blueprints. Within each cell, only certain parts of the genome are activated, and these determine which kind of cell it will be: hair and skin cells, for example, are very different. The human body is constantly changing and developing, so these cells must be able to continue to multiply throughout life.

Together, the chromosomes in a diploid cell are homologous, with each chromosome in a set containing a counterpart in the other set with which it can pair during meiosis. During this process, the chromosomes match up with their counterparts and exchange genetic material. When the chromosomes split apart again, the daughter chromosomes are different from the parents. This ensures that the haploid cells utilized in reproduction all contain a different mix of genetic material, which contributes to genetic diversity and makes a species more hardy.

Understanding ploidy can be important to understanding inheritance. For example, the fact that genetic material is mixed each time haploid cells are created is important, because it explains why children of the same parents can be so radically different, as each contains a different mixture of genetic information. Ploidy also explains how dominant and recessive traits work; with a recessive trait, someone must inherit a gene in both sets of chromosomes, while dominant traits manifest when only one set contains the gene.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All The Science researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon48182 — On Oct 10, 2009

Thanks. I understood one more word today. -krjnath

By jabuka — On Oct 10, 2009

Interesting, so every cell has two sets of chromosomes, except for the sex cells that have only one set of chromosomes.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Share
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.