What does a Cytogenetic Technologist do?

Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis, or treatment of genetic diseases.

Jobs Roles

  • Develop and implement training programs for trainees, medical students, resident physicians or post-doctoral fellows.
  • Stain slides to make chromosomes visible for microscopy.
  • Summarize test results and report to appropriate authorities.
  • Select or prepare specimens and media for cell cultures using aseptic techniques, knowledge of medium components, or cell nutritional requirements.
  • Select banding methods to permit identification of chromosome pairs.
  • Identify appropriate methods of specimen collection, preservation, or transport.
  • Prepare slides of cell cultures following standard procedures.
  • Select appropriate methods of preparation and storage of media to maintain potential of hydrogen (pH), sterility, or ability to support growth.
  • Harvest cell cultures using substances such as mitotic arrestants, cell releasing agents, and cell fixatives.
  • Create chromosome images using computer imaging systems.
  • Determine optimal time sequences and methods for manual or robotic cell harvests.
  • Examine chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.
  • Recognize and report abnormalities in the color, size, shape, composition, or pattern of cells.
  • Communicate test results or technical information to patients, physicians, family members, or researchers.
  • Prepare biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, tumors, chorionic villi, and blood, for chromosome examinations.
  • Count numbers of chromosomes and identify the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.
  • Arrange and attach chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.
  • Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens to aid diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases such as congenital birth defects, fertility problems, and hematological disorders.
  • Input details of specimens into logs or computer systems.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment such as photomicroscopes, inverted microscopes, and standard darkroom equipment.
  • Supervise subordinate laboratory staff.
  • Select appropriate culturing system or procedure based on specimen type and reason for referral.
  • Describe chromosome, FISH and aCGH analysis results in Internations System of Cytogenetic Nomenclature (ISCN) language.
  • Extract, measure, dilute as appropriate, label, and prepare DNA for array analysis.
  • Input details of specimen processing, analysis, and technical issues into logs or laboratory information systems (LIS).
  • Apply prepared specimen and control to appropriate grid, run instrumentation, and produce analyzable results.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor quality control and quality assurance programs to ensure accurate and precise test performance and reports.
  • Evaluate appropriateness of received specimens for requested tests.
  • Communicate to responsible parties unacceptable specimens and suggest remediation for future submissions.
  • Archive case documentation and study materials as required by regulations and laws.
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