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In humans and most other complex organisms, one copy of each chromosome is inherited from the female parent and the other from the male parent. This explains why children inherit some of their traits from their mother and others from their father.
For further more information go to: http://www.genome.gov/26524120
A chromosome is like the directions for each of your cells. It is the boss. It is read and then the orders are carried out (transcription and translation). They make the proteins that do literally everything for your body. Each cell has chromosomes that tell it what to do. Different cells exhibit different traits, depending on the regulator enzymes/proteins/chemicals. But in essence, genes code for the proteins that make up the all the different things in your body and codes for how they function.
So: in your cells each day, the cell needs to stay alive by carrying out its basic metabolic functions. This includes maintaining its cell wall, making sure its DNA is preserved, that they are not depleted of ATP for whatever functions it needs (muscle cells need it for contraction, for example), needs to maintain pH balance, concentration of fluids, synthesis of proteins needed by your body, etc. There are thousands of different reactions that go on every day in your cells, and without chromosomes, there are no instructions.