Karyotype Definition

A pictorial presentation of an individual’s chromosomes, taken from microphotographs (photographs taken through a microscope) and arranged in a numeric sequence that aligns the chromosomes from largest to smallest. This standardized presentation allows the geneticist to analyze an individual’s chromosomal profile. A geneticist can structure a karyotype from any somatic cell (nonsex cell) in the body.

The most common application of karyotyping is genetic screening of a fetus.

A geneticist constructs a karyotype to evaluate whether an individual has a genetic disorder. A karyotype requires DNA from a representative cell in the body, from which the geneticist extracts and prepares the DNA for examination under the microscope.

See also CHROMOSOMEGENETIC COUNSELINGGENETIC DISORDERSGENETIC TESTING.

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