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Cytogenetic Technologists

History

Cytogenetics was derived from the two different sciences of cytology and genetics. Cytology has origins in the late 1600s, with the invention of the microscope and the work of Robert Hooke, an English philosopher who, based on his studies of cork, came up with the theory that cells comprise all living things. Genetics is the study of hereditary genes, originating in the 1860s with Gregor Mendel's study of pea plants hybridization and his theory that hereditary traits are passed on to offspring. In the 1880s, Walther Flemming studied cell structures and cell divisions, and is considered by many to be a founder of the science of cytogenetics.

The profession of cytogenetics started to take root in the 1960s, when scientists first identified the chromosome that causes Down syndrome. The role of cytogenetic technologists has developed since then. Today, cytogenetic technologists use various medical imaging equipment and analytical and scientific software programs to study chromosomes and identify genetic causes of diseases and disorders. They work closely with physicians to help them diagnose and treat patients and have a better understanding of human development.

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