Precise breakpoint definition of chromosomal rearrangements using conventional banding techniques often fails, especially when more than two breakpoints are involved. The classic banding procedure results in a pattern of alternating light and dark bands. Hence, in banded chromosomes a specific chromosomal band is rather identified by the surrounding banding pattern than by its own specific morphology. In chromosomal rearrangements the original pattern is altered and therefore the unequivocal determination of breakpoints is not obvious. The multicolor banding technique (mBAND, see Chudoba et al., 1999) is able to identify breakpoints unambiguously, even in highly complex chromosomal aberrations. The mBAND technique is presented and illustrated in a case of intrachromosomal rearrangement with seven breakpoints all having occurred on one chromosome 16, emphasizing the unique analyzing power of mBAND as compared to conventional banding techniques.
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