, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 301–310 | Cite as

Lateral asymmetry in human constitutive heterochromatin

  • Roslyn R. Angell
  • Patricia A. Jacobs


Human lymphocytes were grown for one replication cycle in BrdU, stained with 33258 Hoechst, exposed to UV light and subsequently treated with 2 x SSC and stained with Giemsa. This technique differentially stains the constitutive heterochromatin of chromosomes 1, 9, 15, 16, and the Y. In the heterochromatin of chromosome 9 both sister chromatids stained darkly and symmetrically but in the other four chromosomes the heterochromatin showed lateral asymmetry, one chromatid being darkly stained while its sister chromatid was as pale or paler than the rest of the chromosome. The lateral asymmetry is presumed to reflect an underlying asymmetry in distribution of thymine between the two strands of the DNA duplex in the satellite DNA component of the chromosomes. In some number 1 chromosomes compound lateral asymmetry was seen; darkly staining material was present on both sister chromatids although at any given point lateral asymmetry was maintained so that if one chromatid stained darkly the corresponding point on the sister chromatid was very pale. The pattern of compound lateral asymmetry varied among the number 1 chromosomes studied but was constant for any one homologue from one individual. This technique reveals a previously unsuspected type of polymorphism within the constitutive heterochromatin of man.


Developmental Biology Thymine Sister Chromatid Human Lymphocyte Replication Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roslyn R. Angell
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Jacobs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Reproductive BiologyUniversity of Hawaii School of MedicineHonoluluUSA

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