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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Nov 6;98(23):13361-6.

Chromosomal variation in neurons of the developing and adult mammalian nervous system.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093-0636, USA.


A basic assumption about the normal nervous system is that its neurons possess identical genomes. Here we present direct evidence for genomic variability, manifested as chromosomal aneuploidy, among developing and mature neurons. Analysis of mouse embryonic cerebral cortical neuroblasts in situ detected lagging chromosomes during mitosis, suggesting the normal generation of aneuploidy in these somatic cells. Spectral karyotype analysis identified approximately 33% of neuroblasts as aneuploid. Most cells lacked one chromosome, whereas others showed hyperploidy, monosomy, and/or trisomy. The prevalence of aneuploidy was reduced by culturing cortical explants in medium containing fibroblast growth factor 2. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization on embryonic cortical cells supported the rate of aneuploidy observed by spectral karyotyping and detected aneuploidy in adult neurons. Our results demonstrate that genomes of developing and adult neurons can be different at the level of whole chromosomes.

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