Karyotype Analysis and Chromosome Banding


A series of reproducible bands across metaphase chromosomes can be revealed by some treatments. These chromosome bands not only allow the identification of normal and abnormal chromosomes but they also tell us about fundamental aspects of the chromatin structure and compartmentalization of the genome.

Keywords: G/R bands; heterochromatin; replication; gene distribution; chromatin domains

Figure 1.

G‐band ideograms of human chromosome 11 at (from left to right) 350, 550 and 850 band resolution.

Figure 2.

DAPI‐stained chromosomes from mouse embryonic stem cells (male). The staining approximates to a G‐band pattern, with the C‐ and G‐bands stained more intensely by DAPI than the R‐bands. The constitutive heterochromatin around the centromeres of these acrocentric chromosomes stains very intensely with DAPI.

Figure 3.

The location of CpG islands in the human karyotype. Left‐hand chromosome of each set: CpG islands (red) painted by FISH onto human metaphase chromosomes that have been replication banded so that the G (late replicating)‐bands are green (sites of BrdU incorporation). Right‐hand chromosome of each set DAPI‐stained (blue) chromosomes with a late‐replication banding pattern (green).



Craig JM and Bickmore WA (1994) The distribution of CpG islands in mammalian chromosomes. Nature Genetics 7: 376–382.

Craig JM, Boyle S, Perry P and Bickmore WA (1997) Scaffold attachments within the human genome. Journal of Cell Science 110: 2673–2682.

Cross SH, Lee M, Clark VH et al. (1997) The chromosomal distribution of CpG islands in the mouse: evidence for genome scrambling in the rodent lineage. Genomics 40: 454–461.

Dunham I, Shimizu N, Roe BA et al. (1999) The DNA sequence of human chromosome 22. Nature 402: 489–495.

Dutrillaux B, Couturier J, Richer C‐L and Viegas‐Péguinot E (1976) Sequence of DNA replication in 277 R‐ and Q‐bands of human chromosomes using a BrdU treatment. Chromosoma 58: 51–61.

Francke U (1994) Digitized and differentially shaded human chromosome ideograms for genomic applications. Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics 65: 206–219.

Jeppesen P and Turner BM (1993) The inactive X chromosome in female mammals is distinguished by a lack of histone H4 acetylation, a cytogenetic marker for gene expression. Cell 74: 281–289.

Korenberg JR and Rykowski MC (1988) Human genome organisation. Alu, Lines, and the molecular structure of metaphase chromosome bands. Cell 53: 391–400.

Saccone S, De Sario A, Wiegant J et al. (1993) Correlations between isochores and chromosomal bands in the human genome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 90: 11929–11933.

Saitoh Y and Laemmli UK (1994) Metaphase chromosome structure: bands arise from a differential folding path of the highly AT‐rich scaffold. Cell 76: 609–622.

The Chromosome 21 Mapping and Sequencing Consortium (2000) The DNA sequence of human chromosome 21. Nature 405: 311–319.

Yunis JJ (1981) Mid‐prophase human chromosomes. The attainment of 2000 bands. Human Genetics 56: 293–298.

Further Reading

Craig JM and Bickmore WA (1993) Chromosome bands ‐ flavours to savour. BioEssays 15: 349–354.

Craig JM and Bickmore WA (1997) Chromosome Bands: Patterns in the Genome. Heidelberg: Springer‐Verlag.

Gosden JR (1994) Chromosome analysis protocols. In: Walker JM (ed.) Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 29. Totawa: Humana Press.

Mitelman F (ed.) (1995) An International System for Human Cytogenetic Nomenclature. Basel: S Karger.

Sumner AT (1990) Chromosome Banding. London: Unwin Hyman.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Bickmore, Wendy A(Apr 2001) Karyotype Analysis and Chromosome Banding. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001160]