Translocation is a type of chromosomal abnormality in which a chromosome breaks and a portion of it reattaches to a different chromosome. Chromosomal translocations can be detected by analyzing karyotypes of the affected cells.
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A translocation is a chromosomal abnormality whereby there's a break in the chromosome, one particular chromosome, and that chromosome will then fuse to a different chromosome. And then you have what we call a fusion product. Chromosomal translocations are typically seen in cases of leukemia, like, for instance, in acute myeloid leukemia. For instance, you have different types of chromosomal translocation where part of Chromosome 8, for instance, will break off and fuse with part of Chromosome 11, so you have what we call an 8/11 translocated product. And what happens in these translocation products oftentimes, one gene on Chromosome 8 will be fused to a different gene of Chromosome 11, so you have a fusion gene. In the case of CML, for instance, you have what we call a Philadelphia chromosome, where you have two different genes: BCR on one chromosome and ABL gene on the other chromosome to give you this BCR-ABL fusion product.
Milton English, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch
As a senior research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Liu, Dr. Milton English uses mouse and zebrafish models to study hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis. This work on zebrafish is focused on identifying and characterizing genes that are involved in myeloid development (white blood cell) and their role in leukemia. By understanding how these genes function normally, researchers can begin to understand what happens when they are mutated or mis-expressed in leukemia. With this research, Dr. Milton and his team have identified several bloodless (having no or reduced blood cells) lines of fish and are in the process of mapping and cloning the mutated genes.