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Cytometry A. 2006 Sep 1;69(9):1028-36.

Factors affecting flow karyotype resolution.

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  • 1The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK. bln@sanger.ac.uk



One of the major factors which influences the chromosome purity achievable particularly during high speed sorting is the analytical resolution of individual chromosome peaks in the flow karyotype, as well as the amount of debris and fragmented chromosomes. We have investigated the factors involved in the preparation of chromosome suspensions that influence karyotype resolution.


Chromosomes were isolated from various human and animal cell types using a series of polyamine buffer isolation protocols modified with respect to pH, salt concentration, and chromosome staining time. Each preparation was analyzed on a MoFlo sorter (DAKO) configured for high speed sorting and the resolution of the flow karyotypes compared.


High resolution flow cytometric data was obtained with chromosomes optimally isolated using hypotonic solution buffered at pH 8.0 and polyamine isolation buffer (with NaCl excluded) between pH 7.50 and 8.0. Extending staining time to more than 8 h with chromosome suspensions isolated from cell lines subjected to sufficient metaphase arrest times gave the best result with the lowest percentage of debris generated, tighter chromosome peaks with overall lower coefficients of variation, and a 1- to 5-fold increase in the yield of isolated chromosomes.


Optimization of buffer pH and the length of staining improved karyotype resolution particularly for larger chromosomes and reduced the presence of chromosome fragments (debris). However, the most interesting and surprising finding was that the exclusion of NaCl in PAB buffer improved the yield and resolution of larger chromosomes.

(c) 2006 International Society for Analytical Cytology.

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