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A karyotype is a display of condensed chromosomes arranged in pairs. Karyotyping can be used to screen for defective chromosomes or abnormal numbers of chromosomes associated with certain congenital disorders, such as Down syndrome.
In the picture above, karyotypes are prepared from isolated somatic cells, which are treated with a drug to stimulate mitosis and then grown in culture for several days. Cells arrested when the chromosomes are most highly condensed—at metaphase—are stained and then viewed with a microscope equipped with a digital camera. An image of the chromosomes is displayed on a computer monitor, and digital software is used to arrange them in pairs according to their appearance.
– What is the process by which photographs of chromosomes are taken in order to determine the chromosome complement of an individual, including the number of chromosomes and any abnormalities?
The karyotype in the above picture shows the chromosomes from a human male (as seen by the presence of the XY chromosome pair), colored to emphasize their chromosome banding patterns. The size of the chromosome, position of the centromere, and pattern of stained bands help identify specific chromosomes. Although difficult to discern in the karyotype, each metaphase chromosome consists of two closely attached sister chromatids.
– What is a nucleic acid stain used in cytogenetics and for the histopathological diagnosis of malaria and other parasites?