One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A circular chromosome or pair (or larger group) of chromosomes found as part of the normal karyotype of an organism or developing gamete.
2An abnormal circular chromosome, typically formed by the loss of the ends of both arms of a normal linear chromosome with fusion of the remaining ends (frequently with postmodifying number or letter denoting the chromosome of origin); (also) a congenital syndrome resulting from the possession of a such a chromosome.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science.
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