Down’s syndrome goes beyond chromosome 21

Genetic changes associated with Down's syndrome may happen on all chromosomes, not just chromosome 21, a study suggests.

Bolzer et al/PLOS ONE 2005/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.5)

When humans have a third copy of chromosome 21, they are usually diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. Scientists thought that the additional copy of the chromosome resulted in most of the traits characteristic of the condition. But the DNA of identical twins, one with Down’s and one without, suggests that there are genetic changes on all chromosomes that contribute to the syndrome. The results appear April 16 in Nature.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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