Reciprocal Translocation

Definition - What does Reciprocal Translocation mean?

A reciprocal translocation is a type of translocation in which pieces of two different chromosomes break off and swap places. Reciprocal translocations are usually balanced, meaning they do not cause problems in the carrier. However, problems can occur when a carrier of a reciprocal translocation conceives.

FertilitySmarts explains Reciprocal Translocation

Reciprocal translocations are relatively common. In fact, about 1 in 500 people in the general population carry a reciprocal translocation. They are known as balanced translocations because no genetic material is lost or gained when the pieces of chromosomes switch places.

A carrier of a reciprocal translocation can produce normal, balanced, or unbalanced gametes (eggs or sperm). If an embryo is conceived from a gamete containing an unbalanced translocation, it may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or genetic abnormalities in the child. A child conceived from balanced gametes will become a carrier of the translocation.

It is possible to test for reciprocal translocations, and other types of translocations, using karyotyping. This is typically recommended to individuals or couples who have experienced three or more pregnancy losses.

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