Cytogenetics is a word used to describe the study of chromosomes. Chromosomes are the threadlike structures of DNA in every cell in our bodies that contain our genes and determine our heredity.
Chromosome analyses are usually performed using a blood sample, prenatal specimen, skin biopsy, or other tissue sample. Chromosomes are analyzed by specially trained health care personnel that have advanced degrees in cytogenetic technology and genetics. Chromosome studies may also be performed when people have certain types of leukemias and lymphomas, to look for specific chromosome rearrangements (changes in the order of the chromosome material) associated with these types of cancers.