Delineation of individual human chromosomes in metaphase and interphase cells by in situ suppression hybridization using recombinant DNA libraries

Hum Genet. 1988 Nov;80(3):224-34. doi: 10.1007/BF01790090.


A method of in situ hybridization for visualizing individual human chromosomes from pter to qter, both in metaphase spreads and interphase nuclei, is reported. DNA inserts from a single chromosomal library are labeled with biotin and partially preannealed with a titrated amount of total human genomic DNA prior to hybridization with cellular or chromosomal preparations. The cross-hybridization of repetitive sequences to nontargeted chromosomes can be markedly suppressed under appropriate preannealing conditions. The remaining single-stranded DNA is hybridized to specimens of interest and detected with fluorescent or enzyme-labeled avidin conjugates following post-hybridization washes. DNA inserts from recombinant libraries for chromosomes 1, 4, 7, 8, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 22, and X were assessed for their ability to decorate specifically their cognate chromosome; most libraries proved to be highly specific. Quantitative densitometric analyses indicated that the ratio of specific to nonspecific hybridization signal under optimal preannealing conditions was at least 8:1. Interphase nuclei showed a cohesive territorial organization of chromosomal domains, and laser-scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy was used to aid the 3-D visualization of these domains. This method should be useful for both karyotypic studies and for the analysis of chromosome topography in interphase cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Human / ultrastructure*
  • DNA Probes*
  • DNA, Recombinant*
  • Humans
  • Interphase
  • Karyotyping
  • Metaphase
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization*


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Recombinant