Human Evolution

, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 445–457 | Cite as

Fluorescent heterochromatin staining in primate chromosomes

  • J. Wienberg
  • R. Stanyon


Recently, in addition to quinacrine staining, fluorochrome techniques have been developed which brilliantly stain other heterochromatic regions. Two of these staining techniques are Distamycin/DAPI (DA/DAPI) and D287/170. We stained the chromosomes of all species of great apes and 14 species of primates (48 individuals) using these three fluorochrome techniques. Only african apes and man show brilliant quinacrine staining while, man and all the great apes show brilliant DA/DAPI staining and only species belonging to the hominoidea (including the siamang) showed bright D287/170 staining. In the lower primates a medium level of DA/DAPI fluorescence was found in some species with large amount of pericentromeric heterochromatin. Brilliant DA/DAPI staining could represent a derived trait linking all great apes and humans, while D287/170 may link all hominoidea.

Fluorochrome staining is believed to be correlated with some satellite DNA sequences. However, data available on the chromosome location of satellite DNAs in non-human primates were derived from buoyant density fractions resulting in cross hybridization and now are not considered reliable. Before making any correlation between fluorochrome staining and satellite DNAs in non human primates there is need of data onin situ hybridization with cloned DNA sequences on primate chromosomes. These data would help clarify the evolution and relationship of satellite DNAs and heterochromatin in primates.

Key words

Primates Chromosomes Fluorochromes Evolution Phylogeny Heterochromatin 


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Copyright information

© Editrice II Sedicesimo 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wienberg
    • 1
  • R. Stanyon
    • 1
  1. 1.Inst. of Anthropology and Human GeneticsUniversity of MunichW.Germany

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