Dictionary > Cytogeneticist


The person that specializes on cytogenetics, which is the branch of genetics concerned mainly in cellular components, especially chromosomes, in connection with heredity, genetic anomalies, and pathologic conditions
Cytogenetics is a fusion of cytology and genetics. It is concerned mainly in cellular components (particularly chromosomes), and relates them to heredity, genetic anomalies, and pathologic conditions. It is genetics at the cellular level. People specializing in this field are called cytogeneticists. They therefore conduct methods such as cytogenetic banding techniques and karyotyping. Chromosomal banding is a method used to reveal the characteristic pattern of light and dark transverse bands on a stained chromosome (as viewed under a microscope). Torbjörn Caspersson, a Swedish cytogeneticist, developed the first banding technique called quinacrine-banding (Q-banding). This banding technique enabled cytogeneticists to view and study chromosome pairs. It also enabled them to identify each one according to its distinctive horizontal banding patterns. Later on, more chromosomal banding techniques were developed such as Giemsa banding, reverse banding, constitutive heterochromatin banding, Nucleolar Organizer Region (NOR-) banding, and telomeric R banding.
A subfield, molecular cytogenetics, is a combination of cytogenetics and molecular biology and the person specializing in this field is called molecular cytogeneticist. Some of the modern techniques typically performed include fluorescent in situ hybridization, and comparative genomic hybridization.
Another notable cytogeneticist is Barbara McClintock, an American scientist, who conducted research in maize cytogenetics.
Word origin: Ancient Greek kútos (receptacle) + génesis (origin) + Old French -iste, Latin –ista, Ancient Greek –istḗs (from)

See also:

  • genetics
  • chromosome
  • genome
  • heredity
  • cell
  • banding pattern
  • karyotype
  • cytology
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