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A structural basis for R- and T-banding: a scanning electron microscopy study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christine Harrison FRCPath FMedSci


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The structure of reverse (R)-banded and telomeric (T)-banded chromosomes was studied by examination of the same chromosomes first in the light microscope (LM) followed by the scanning electron microscope (SEM). This procedure demonstrated a structural basis to both the R- and T-banding techniques. A direct correlation was shown between the LM staining patterns and the structural patterns observed in the SEM. In the R-banded chromosomes the positively stained R-bands, viewed by LM, corresponded to highly fibrous three-dimensional regions in the SEM. The negatively stained R-interbands corresponded to flatter regions from which material appeared to have been extracted. These structural observations strongly support the suggestion that chromosomal material is preferentially lost from the R-interbands with aggregation of fibres in the R-bands. T-banded chromosomes showed a similar structure to the R-banded chromosomes. The positively stained T-bands located at the telomeres corresponded to regions of highly aggregated fibres. The remainder of the chromosome, corresponding to the negatively stained area, had a flattened and extracted appearance. These similarities in morphology between the T- and R-banded chromosomes support the view that T-bands result from a progressive breakdown of the R-banded chromosome structure.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jack EM, Harrison CJ, Allen TD, Harris R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chromosoma

Year: 1986

Volume: 94

Issue: 5

Pages: 395-402

Print publication date: 01/12/1986

ISSN (print): 0009-5915

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0886

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/BF00328640

Notes: Comparative Study Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Germany, west


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