JAMES KING-HOLMES / ICRF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / ICRF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cytogeneticist analysing a karyotype of human chromosomes for diagnostic purposes; the paired chromosomes facilitate detection of abnormalities of number or structure, which may give rise to defects in the individual (such as Down's Syndrome and some leukaemias). A karyotype is a document of the full complement of chromosomes in a cell, arranged in numbered homologous pairs. The chromosomes are stained and photographed through a light microscope during the metaphase stage of cell division. Each member of a homologous pair (apart from the sex chromosomes in the male) is similar in length & banding pattern.
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