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Bioessays. 1993 May;15(5):349-54.

Chromosome bands--flavours to savour.

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  • 1MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.


The mammalian chromosome is longitudinally heterogeneous in structure and function and this is the basis for the specific banding patterns produced by various chromosome staining techniques. The two most frequently used techniques are G, or Giemsa banding and R, or reverse banding. Each type of stained band is characterised by variations in gene density, time of replication, base composition, density of repeat sequences, and chromatin packaging. It is increasingly apparent that R and G bands, which are complementary to each other, represent separate compartments of the euchromatic human genome, with R bands containing the vast majority of genes. R bands are also more GC-rich, contain a higher density of Alu repeats, and replicate earlier in S phase, than G bands. These properties may be interdependent and may have coevolved.

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