Down syndrome is a condition in which a person is born with an extra chromosome, specifically an extra copy of chromosome 21. The condition was discovered in the late nineteenth century by Langdon Down, an English physician, who first published an accurate description of a person with Down syndrome. Although characteristics of the condition were previously recognized, it was Down who distinguished this condition from others and paved the path to new discoveries. To this day, Down syndrome remains the most common chromosomal condition in the United States with about 6,000 reported cases each year. Although it is known that Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, why this occurs is still unknown.
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