Downs Essay, Research Paper

For centuries, people with Down syndrome have been alluded to in art,

literature and science. It wasn’t until the late 19th century, however, that

John Langdon Down, an English physician, published an accurate

description of a person with Down syndrome. It was this scholarly work,

published in 1866, which earned Down the recognition as the “father” of

the syndrome. Although other people had previously recognized the

characteristics of the syndrome, it was Down who described the condition

as a distinct and separate entity.

Throughout the 20th century, advances in medicine and science enabled

researchers to investigate the characteristics of people with Down

syndrome. In 1959, the French physician, Jerome Lejeune, identified Down

syndrome as a chromosomal anomaly. Instead of the usual 46

chromosomes present in each cell, Lejeune observed 47 in the cells of

individuals with Down syndrome. It was later determined that an extra

partial or complete 21st chromosome results in the characteristics

associated with Down syndrome.

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