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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1983;36(3):554-61.

A direct demonstration of somatically paired heterochromatin of human chromosomes.


Human lymphocyte cultures were treated with different concentrations of 5-azacytidine for various lengths of time. This cytosine analog induces very distinct undercondensation in the heterochromatin of chromosomes 1, 9, 15, 16, and Y if applied in low doses during the last hours of culture. These regions are further distinguished by their intense distamycin A/DAPI-staining and highly methylated DNA. In interphase nuclei, these heterochromatic regions are frequently somatically paired. These somatic pairings are preserved up to the metaphase stage in the 5-azacytidine-treated cultures and are thus susceptible to direct analysis. The specific effect of 5-azacytidine on the heterochromatin of these chromosomes, its conserving effect on somatic pairing, and some of the consequences of the somatic pairing on the development of human chromosome aberrations are discussed.

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