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Karyotype

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Updated March 16, 2009

A karyotype showing trisomy 21

A karyotype showing trisomy 21

Istockphoto/K. Fergus
Definition:

A karyotype is a picture of all the chromosomes from an individual’s cells. A karyotype is a test used to check for chromosome abnormalities. A picture of a person’s chromosomes is created by staining the chromosomes with a special dye, photographing them through a microscope and arranging them in pairs. A karyotype gives information about the number of chromosomes a person has, the structure of their chromosomes and the sex of the individual. Down syndrome is diagnosed by a karyotype test.

Pronunciation: “Carry” “o” “type”
Also Known As: chromosome test, chromosome analysis
Examples:
A karyotype showed that the baby had an extra number 21 chromosome and thus had 47 chromosomes instead of 46.

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