Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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1. part of a complete unit; used to describe the haploid number of 23 chromatids in a human gamete, for example, which, when combined with another gamete also containing 23 chromatids provided by the opposite sex (during fertilization), produces a complete diploid zygote.

2. in serology, a group of components present in fresh normal serum which take part in some antigen-antibody interactions, destroy microbes and attack transplanted tissue; see microcomplement fixation.

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