Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: karyo- or caryo-

Human Karyotype
This human karyotype shows the complete set of human chromosomes. Each chromosome pair represents a set of homologous chromosomes. Credit: somersault18:24/Science Photo Library/Getty Images


The prefix (karyo- or caryo-) means nut or kernel and also refers to the nucleus of a cell.


Caryopsis (cary-opsis) - fruit of grasses and grains that consists of a single-celled, seed-like fruit.

Karyocyte (karyo-cyte) - a cell that contains a nucleus.

Karyochrome (karyo-chrome) - a type of nerve cell in which the nucleus stains easily with dyes.

Karyogamy (karyo-gamy) - uniting of cell nuclei, as in fertilization.

Karyokinesis (karyo-kinesis) - division of the nucleus that occurs during the cell cycle phases of mitosis and meiosis.

Karyology (karyo-logy) - the study of the structure and function of the cell nucleus.

Karyolymph (karyo-lymph) - the aqueous component of the nucleus in which the chromatin and other nuclear components are suspended.

Karyolysis (karyo-lysis) - the dissolution of the nucleus that occurs during cell death.

Karyomegaly (karyo-mega-ly) - abnormal enlargement of the cell nucleus.

Karyomere (karyo-mere) - a vesicle containing a small portion of the nucleus, typically following abnormal cell division.

Karyomitome (karyo-mitome) - chromatin network within the cell nucleus.

Karyon (karyon) - the cell nucleus.

Karyophage (karyo-phage) - a parasite that engulfs and destroys the nucleus of a cell.

Karyoplasm (karyo-plasm) - the protoplasm of the nucleus of a cell; also known as nucleoplasm.

Karyopyknosis (karyo-pyk-nosis) - shrinkage of the cell nucleus that is accompanied by the condensation of chromatin during apoptosis.

Karyorrhexis (karyo-rrhexis) - stage of cell death in which the nucleus ruptures and disperses its chromatin throughout the cytoplasm.

Karyosome (karyo-some) - dense mass of chromatin in the nucleus of a non-dividing cell.

Karyostasis (karyo-stasis) - stage of the cell cycle, also known as interphase, where the cell undergoes a period of growth in preparation for cell division. This stage occurs between two successive divisions of the cell nucleus.

Karyotheca (karyo-theca) - double membrane that encloses the contents of the nucleus, also known as the nuclear envelope. Its outer portion is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum.

Karyotype (karyo-type) - an organized visual representation of the chromosomes in the cell nucleus arranged according to characteristics such as number, size, and shape.