Translocation means a change in location. It often refers to genetics, when part of a chromosome is transferred to another chromosome. Chromosomes are structures that carry genes, our units of heredity. When this type of translocation occurs, it can cause flaws in chromosomes.
In another type of translocation, two chromosomes trade pieces with each other.
Genetic translocations can cause serious disorders, including a type of leukemia.
Nussbaum RL, McInnes RR, Willard HF. Principles of clinical cytogenetics and genome analysis. In: Nussbaum RL, McInnes RR, Willard HF, eds. Thompson & Thompson Genetics in Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 5.
Review Date 9/16/2019
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.