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Int J Radiat Biol. 2004 Jul;80(7):507-15.

Chromosome spatial clustering inferred from radiogenic aberrations.

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Mathematics Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA



Analysing chromosome aberrations induced by low linear energy transfer (LET) radiation in order to characterize systematic spatial clustering among the 22 human autosomes in human lymphocytes and to compare their relative participation in interchanges.


A multicolour fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH) data set, specifying colour junctions in metaphases of human peripheral blood lymphocytes 72 h after in vitro exposure to low LET radiation, was analysed separately and in combination with previously published results. Monte Carlo computer simulations and mathematical modelling guided data analysis.


Statistical tests on aberration data confirmed two clusters of chromosomes, [1, 16, 17, 19, 22] and [13, 14, 15, 21, 22], as having their members being on average closer to each other than randomness would predict. The first set has been reported previously to be near the centre of the interphase nucleus and to be formed mainly by gene-rich chromosomes, while the second set comprises the nucleolus chromosomes. The results suggest a possible interplay between chromosome positioning and transcription. A number of other clusters suggested in the literature were not confirmed and considerable randomness of chromosome-chromosome juxtapositions was present. In addition, and consistent with previous results, it was found that chromosome participation in interchanges is approximately proportional to the two-thirds power of the DNA content.

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