, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 37–50 | Cite as

Visualization of nucleolar organizer regions in mammalian chromosomes using silver staining

  • Carll Goodpasture
  • Stephen E. Bloom


A simple ammoniacal silver staining procedure, designated Ag-AS, differentially stains the chromosomal locations of ribosomal DNA in certain mammalian species. This was critically demonstrated by Ag-AS staining of the nucleolus organizer regions in karyotypes of the same species and cell lines used for locating the ribosomal cistrons by DNA/RNA in situ hybridization. With Ag-AS, silver stained NORs (Ag-NORs) are visualized as black spherical bodies on yellow-brown chromosome arms. Ag-NORs were visualized throughout mitosis at the secondary constrictions in the rat kangaroo, Seba's fruit bat, Indian muntjac, and Rhesus monkey. The Chinese hamster and cattle have telomeric Ag-NORs, the mouse subcentromeric Ag-NORs, and the field vole Ag-NORs as minute short arms or chromosomal satellites. Ag-NORs occur at both secondary constrictions and at telomeres in the cotton rat. Variability in Ag-NOR pattern included differences in the number of Ag-NORs per cell within a cell population, size of Ag-NORs among chromosomes of a complement, and presence of Ag-NOR on particular chromosomes in two cell lines of the Chinese hamster. The available cytochemical data suggest that the Ag-AS reaction stains chromosomal proteins at the NOR rather than the rDNA itself.


Silver Staining Organizer Region Nucleolar Organizer Region Nucleolar Organizer Secondary Constriction 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carll Goodpasture
    • 1
  • Stephen E. Bloom
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of Texas System Cancer Center M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor InstituteHoustonUSA

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