According to the National Down Syndrome Society, Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition, with roughly one in 700 children born in the United States affected. The genetic disease results specifically from a partial or complete extra copy of chromosome 21.
What I'd like to know is why this is, when there are 22 other chromosomes that in theory are just as susceptible to nondisjunction (the most common process resulting in the extra copy of chromosome 21, accounting for 95% of cases). Why is chromosome 21 uniquely affected?
My personal thoughts, not necessary for understanding the question:
It seems to me that there are two likely options here.
Option 1 is that there is some property of chromosome 21 that causes it to be treated slightly differently from other chromosomes making such nondisjunction more likely. Perhaps it is the largest, or smallest, or the most guanine-cytosine base pair rich, or poor, and so on, in which case I'd love to hear what it is that differentiates chromosome 21.
Option 2 is survivorship bias, namely that chromosome 21 is the only chromosome where trisomy tends not to result in the death of the fetus. If true, this would indicate that trisomy occurs at roughly equal rates in the other chromosomes, but that typically this results in miscarriage.