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Barr body Line breaks: Barr body
Pronunciation: /bɑːˈbɒdi/

Definition of Barr body in English:


A small, densely staining structure in the cell nuclei of females, consisting of a condensed, inactive X chromosome. It is regarded as diagnostic of genetic femaleness.
Example sentences
  • In some tissues, the inactive X chromosome can be identified in the nucleus as a Barr body and X inactivation provides an important model for the inheritance of gene expression.
  • The formation of Barr bodies is the strategy that humans use for what is called dosage compensation.
  • If the Barr bodies of a normal female were missing, she would exhibit Turners Syndrome.


1960s: named after the Canadian anatomist M. L. Barr (1908–95).

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