A chromosome where the centromere is not central and is instead located near the end of the chromosome. Humans usually have five pairs of acrocentric autosomes (chromosomes 13, 14, 15, 21, 22). The Y chromosome is also acrocentric.
Use in clinical context
Robertsonian translocations involve the exchange of the short arm of one acrocentric chromosome with the long arm of a different acrocentric chromosome. Robertsonian translocations are usually balanced (there is no net loss or gain of genetic material) when they arise in an individual, but they can become unbalanced (there is extra or missing genetic material) when passed onto children, which can have phenotypic consequences.