Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Going MFISHing

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The colored chromosomes in this illustration are the product of a novel labeling technique called multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridization, or mfish. Traditional chromosome staining produces black- and-white banding patterns. mfish, though, uses colored fluorescent tags, either singly or in combination, attached to fragments of single-stranded human chromosomes--a different color combination for each of the 24 chromosomes. The chromosomes here were isolated from cells, heated until each DNA double helix unzipped into two complementary strands, and then mixed with previously prepared, tagged DNA fragments. The fragments clung to their opposite partners, closing the zipper once more, but this time causing it to glow brightly when zapped with light. The technique enables its inventors--Michael Speicher of Yale and colleagues--to pick out abnormalities traditional methods might miss, as when chunks of DNA break away from their home chromosomes and reattach to others. That can cause such diseases as mental retardation and leukemia--and it changes the mfish color pattern.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 75%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In