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Chromosomal analysis is used to diagnose human health, from a developing fetus to adults. In the former, a blood sample from the man and woman is sent to a genetics lab for testing where scientists study chromosomes by staining them to make the "bands" visible under a microscope. A map of all 46 chromosomes known as a karyotype is composed to study for abnormalities in the structure or number of chromosomes. Abnormalities can result in a wide range of birth defects, such as Turner Syndrome or Down Syndrome. Chromosomes cannot be altered, but genetic counseling can help affected parents decide how to proceed. Normal human cells contain 46 chromosomes; 23 from the egg of the mother and another 23 from the sperm of the father. They hold approximately 25,000 genes and are arranged in pairs, with the last pair determining the gender. That pair is labeled XY in males and XX in females.
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