Identification of de novo chromosomal markers and derivatives by spectral karyotyping

Hum Genet. 1998 Nov;103(5):619-25. doi: 10.1007/s004390050878.


Despite major advances in molecular cytogenetics during the past decade and the important diagnostic role that fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) plays in the characterization of chromosomal abnormalities, the usefulness of this technique remains limited by the number of spectrally distinguishable fluorochromes or fluorochrome combinations. Overcoming this major limitation would allow one to use FISH to screen the whole human genome for chromosomal aberrations which, until recently, was possible only through conventional karyotyping. A recently described molecular cytogenetics technology, 24-color FISH using spectral karyotyping (SKY), permits the simultaneous visualization of all human chromosomes in 24 different colors. Most chromosomal aberrations detected during cytogenetic evaluation can be resolved using routine cytogenetic techniques alone or in combination with single- or dual-color FISH. However, some cases remain unresolved, in particular de novo supernumerary marker chromosomes and de novo unbalanced structural rearrangements. These findings cause particular diagnostic and counseling concerns when detected during prenatal diagnosis. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate the application of SKY in the characterization of these de novo structural chromosomal abnormalities. Eight cases are described in this report. SKY has considerable diagnostic applications in prenatal diagnosis because of its reliability and speed. The identification of the chromosomal origin of markers and unbalanced translocations provides the patient, physician, and genetic counselor with better predictive information on the phenotype of the carrier.

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics*
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosome Disorders
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • DNA Probes / genetics
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Genetic Markers / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Karyotyping / methods*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods


  • DNA Probes
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Genetic Markers
  • Indoles
  • DAPI