Exercise 10.6 - Karyotype Analysis
Table 10.2 Human chromosome dimensions
Click here for karyotype form
- Fresh venous blood 8
- Heparinized syringes
- Eagle's spinner modified media with PHA
- Culture flasks
- Tissue culture grade incubator at 37° C
- 10 µ g/ml Colcemid
- Clinical centrifuge and tubes
- 0.075 M KCl
- Absolute Methanol and glacial acetic acid (3:1 Mixture, prepared fresh)
- Dry ice
- Slides, coverslips and permount
- Alkaline solution for G-banding
- Saline-Citrate for G-banding
- Ethanol (70% and 95% (v/v))
- Giemsa stain
- Draw 5 ml of venous blood into a sterile syringe
containing 0.5 ml of sodium heparin (1000 units/ml). The blood
may be collected in a heparinized Vacutainer, 10
and transferred to a syringe.
- Bend a clean, covered 18 gauge needle to a 45° angle
and place on the syringe. Invert the syringe (needle pointing up,
plunger down), and stand it on end for 1-1/2 to 2 hours at room
During this time the erythrocytes settle by gravity, leaving
approximately 4 ml of leukocyte-rich plasma on the top, and a
white buffy coat of leukocytes in the middle.
- Carefully tip the syringe (do not invert) and slowly expel
the leukocyte-rich plasma and the buffy coat into a sterile
tissue culture flask containing 8 ml of Eagle's spinner modified
media supplemented with 0.1 ml of phytohemagllutin (PHA).
BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL NOT TO DISRUPT THE RED BLOOD CELLS IN THE
BOTTOM OF THE SYRINGE. RBC'S WILL INHIBIT GROWTH OF THE
- Incubate the culture for 66-72 hours at 37° C. Gently
agitate the culture once or twice daily during the incubation
- Add 0.1 ml of colcemid (10 micrograms/ml) to the culture
flasks and incubate for an additional 2 hours.11
- Transfer the colcemid-treated cells to a 15 ml centrifuge
tube and centrifuge at 225 xg for 10 minutes.
- Aspirate and discard all but 0.5 ml of the supernatant.
Gently tap the bottom of the centrifuge tube to resuspend the
cells in the remaining 0.5 ml of culture media.
- Add 10 ml of 0.075 M KCl, dropwise at first, and then with
gentle agitation to the centrifuge tube. Gently mix with each
START TIMING THE NEXT STEP IMMEDIATELY WITH THE FIRST DROP OF
- Let the cells stand EXACTLY 6 minutes in the
THE HYPOTONIC SOLUTION SHOULD NOT BE IN CONTACT WITH THE CELLS IN
EXCESS OF 15 MINUTES FROM THE TIME IT IS ADDED.
- Centrifuge the cells at 225 xg for 6 minutes. Aspirate the
KCl and discard all but 0.5 ml of the supernatant. Gently
resuspend the cells in this small volume of fluid.
- Add 10 ml freshly prepared fixative dropwise at first and
then with gentle agitation. Gentle and continuous agitation is
important at this step to prevent clumping of the cells. If the
cells were not properly resuspended in step 10, the cells will
clump beyond any further use.
- Allow the cells to stand in fixative at room temperature for
- Centrifuge at 200 xg for 5 minutes and remove all but 0.5 ml
of supernatant. Resuspend the cells in fresh fixative.
- Wash the cells twice more in 10 ml volumes of fixative. Add
the fixative slowly, recentrifuge, and aspirate the fixative as
THE FIXED, PELLETED CELLS MAY BE STORED FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AT
- Resuspend the pellet of cells in just enough fixative to
give a slightly turbid appearance.
- Prop a piece of dry ice against the side of a styrofoam
container and lace a clean slide onto the dry ice to chill the
DRY ICE WILL CAUSE FROST BITE. HANDLE WITH TONGS ONLY.
Use a siliconized pasteur pipette to draw up
a few drops of the suspended cells and drop the cells onto the
surface of the chilled slide. Spreading of the chromosomes may be
enhanced by dropping the cell suspension from a height of at least
12 inches. As soon as the cells strike the slide, blow hard on the
slide to rapidly spread the cells. 12
FOR BEST RESULTS ALLOW ONLY ONE DROP PER SLIDE.
- Remove the slides from the dry ice and allow them to air
dry. Perform the desired banding and/or staining procedures.
Procedure = Preparation of chromosomes for karyotype analysis can
be performed in a number of ways and each will yield differing
pieces of information. The chromosomes may be stained with aceto-
orcein, feulgen or a basophilic dye such as toluidine blue or
methylene blue if only the general morphology is desired.
Procedure = If more detail is desired, the chromosomes can be
treated with various enzymes in combination with stains to yield
banding patterns on each chromosome. These techniques have become
common place and will yield far more diagnostic information than
giemsa stain alone (the most commonly used process). A band is an
area of a chromosome which is clearly distinct from its
neighboring area, but may be lighter or darker than its
neighboring region. The standard methods of banding are the Q, G,
R, and C banding techniques. These are defined as follows:
- Quinacrine stain
- Fluorescence microscopy
- Giemsa stain
- Additional Conditions
- a. Heat hydrolysis
- b. Trypsin treatment
- c. Giemsa at pH 9.0
- Giemsa or acridine orange
- Negative bands of Q and G reversed
- Heat hydrolysis in buffered salt
- Giemsa stain
- Pretreatment with BaOH or NaOH
followed by heat and salt.
The following directions are for a G-banding: 13
- Treat fixed and flamed slides in alkaline solution, room
temperature for 30 seconds.
- Rinse in saline-citrate solution, 3 changes for 5-10 minutes each.
- Incubate in saline-citrate solution, 65° C for 60-72 hours.
- Treat with 3 changes of 70% ethanol and 3 changes of 95%
ethanol (3 minutes) each.
- Air dry.
- Stain in buffered Giemsa for 5 minutes.
- Rinse briefly in distilled water.
- Air dry and mount.
- Photograph appropriate spreads and produce 8 X 10 high
contrast photographs of your chromosome spreads.
- Cut each chromosome from the photograph and arrange the
chromosomes according to size and position of the centromere.
- Use Table 10.2 to identify the specific chromosomes.
- Tape or glue each chromosome to the form supplied for this
to Table of Contents
Cell Biology Laboratory Manual
Dr. William H. Heidcamp, Biology Department, Gustavus Adolphus College,
St. Peter, MN 56082 -- firstname.lastname@example.org