Dynamics of Chromosome Spreading

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Consistency of optimum chromosome spreading during harvest of cytogenetic specimens remains a major concern. We have tested the idea that a precise control of the drying rate (the time with which metaphase cells dry), as fixed cell suspension is placed on a slide or an in situ culture in last fixation, may be the answer. Amniocyte and lymphocyte cultures were allowed to dry at defined combinations of relative humidity (RH) and temperature (TI in a modified Thermotron environmental control unit. We were able to demonstrate, based on 2,250 amniocytes and 1,650 lymphocytes, that the metaphase area after drying was a function of RH and T for both in situ and non-in situ culture systems. As the RH and T increase, the metaphase area increases until a threshold is reached. Also, as RH increases, the slide drying time increases. Data obtained using a response surface regression, proportional hazards regression analysis and slide drying time studies are consistent with our model of chromosome spreading. Optimum metaphase areas can be achieved at various combinations of RH and T. We propose that the use of an environmental control unit is a practical way of achieving optimum chromosome spreading routinely and in a highly consistent manner. @ 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Key Words: chromosome spreading, optimum cytogenetic harvesting, environmental control, chromosome harvest chamber

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