Chromosome Research

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 239–244 | Cite as

Imaging and manipulating chromosomes with the atomic force microscope

  • Daniel M. Jondle
  • Linda Ambrosio
  • James Vesenka
  • Eric Henderson


Polytene chromosomes from the salivary gland cells of Drosophila melanogaster were examined by atomic force microscopy. The atomic force microscope (AFM) was capable of resolving chromosomal features down to the limits of the tip sharpness, about 500 Å for pyramidal-shaped tips. Resolution was increased to 300 Å by using electron beam deposited (EBD) tips with high aspect ratios. This significantly exceeds the resolution obtainable with conventional optical microscopes, but at the cost of compromising the structural integrity of the sample. A reasonable compromise was achieved by using oxide-sharpened tips. In this case high resolution was obtained without sample degradation, but when desired these tips were also capable of sample disintegration with increased scanning force and rate. Thus, oxide-sharpened tips were used to precisely dissect defined chromosomal regions to illustrate their potential use in genetic mapping efforts. This study illustrates the utility of the AFM in the characterization and manipulation of chromosomes and chromosomal DNA.

Key words

atomic force microscope Drosophila melanogaster polytene chromosomes 


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Copyright information

© Rapid Communications of Oxford Ltd 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel M. Jondle
    • 1
  • Linda Ambrosio
    • 1
  • James Vesenka
    • 1
  • Eric Henderson
    • 1
  1. 1.the Department of Zoology and GeneticsIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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