Chromosome painting: A useful art

Thomas Ried, Evelin Schröck, Yi Ning, Johannes Wienberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chromosome 'painting' refers to the hybridization of fluorescently labeled chromosome-specific, composite probe pools to cytological preparations. Chromosome painting allows the visualization of individual chromosomes in metaphase or interphase cells and the identification of both numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations in human pathology with high sensitivity and specificity. In addition to human chromosome-specific probe pools, painting probes have become available for an increasing range of different species. They can be applied to cross-species comparisons as well as to the study of chromosomal rearrangements in animal models of human diseases. The simultaneous hybridization of multiple chromosome painting probes, each tagged with a specific fluorochrome or fluorochrome combination, has resulted in the differential color display of human (and mouse) chromosomes, i.e. color karyotyping. In this review, we will summarize recent developments of multicolor chromosome painting, describe applications in basic chromosome research and cytogenetic diagnostics, and discuss limitations and future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1626
Number of pages8
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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