Each human chromosome has a short arm ("p" for "petit") and long arm
("q" for "queue"), separated by a centromere. The ends of the
chromosome are called telomeres.
Each chromosome arm is divided into regions, or cytogenetic bands, that
can be seen using a microscope and special stains. The cytogenetic bands are
labeled p1, p2, p3,
q1, q2, q3, etc., counting from the centromere out toward the telomeres. At higher
resolutions, sub-bands can be seen within the bands. The sub-bands are also
numbered from the centromere out toward the telomere.
For example, the cytogenetic map location of the CFTR gene is 7q31.2, which
indicates it is on chromosome 7, q arm, band 3, sub-band 1, and sub-sub-band 2.
The ends of the chromosomes are labeled ptel and qtel. For example, the
notation 7qtel refers to the end of the long arm of chromosome 7.