A Technique for the Preparation of Somatic Chromosomes of Maize

  • Bryan Kindiger
Part of the Springer Lab Manuals book series (SLM)


The staining and counting of the somatic chromosomes of Zea mays constitute a valuable technique for studies in maize genetics. The Feulgen staining technique has been successful in cytological studies of a wide range of somatic plant chromosomes. The Feulgen technique is a nucleal-type reaction and was originally developed by Feulgen and Rossenbeck as a microchemical test (1924). The technique was later refined by DeTomasi (1936), Heitz (1936), Margolena (1932) and Whitaker (1939). Numerous early botanists/cytogeneticists (a few of whom are cited below), in a refinement of the technique, demonstrated that the mitotic inhibitor (colchicine) could be applied as a pretreatment to shorten plant chromosomes and thus allow superior visualization of the somatic chromosomes prior to staining (Burrell 1939; Nichols 1941; O’Mara 1939). Minor modifications in the pretreatment step have allowed further improvements in the resolution of the somatic chromosomes (Sallee 1981, 1982; Kindiger 1983).


Somatic Chromosome Hydrolysis Time Basic Fuchsin Maize Genetic Superior Visualization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Burrell PC (1939) Root tip smear method for difficult material. Stain Technol 14: 147–149Google Scholar
  2. DeTomasi JT (1936) Improving the technic of the Feulgen stain. Stain Technol 11: 137–144Google Scholar
  3. Feulgen R and Rossenbeck H (1924) Mikroscopisch-chemischer Nachweis einer Nucleinsaure vom Typus der Thymonucleinsaure. Hoppe-Seyl Z. 135: 203–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Heitz E (1936) Die Nucleal Quetschmethode. Ber Deut Bot Gesellsch 53: 870–888.Google Scholar
  5. Kindiger B, Beckett JB (1983) A modified root tip squash technique. Maize Genetics Cooperation News Letter pp 32–33Google Scholar
  6. Margolena LA (1932) Feulgen’s reaction and some of its applications for botanical material. Stain Technol 7: 9–16Google Scholar
  7. Nichols C (1941) Spontaneous chromosome aberrations in Allium. Genetics 26: 89–100PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. O’Mara JG (1939) Observations on the immediate effects of colchicine. J Hered 30: 35–37Google Scholar
  9. Sallee PJ, Kimber G (1981) The use of DMSO in the prefixation of somatic chromosomes. Cereal Res Commun 9: 199–203Google Scholar
  10. Sallee PJ (1982) Prefixation and staining of the somatic chromosomes of corn. In Sheridan W (ed) Maize for Biological Research, Plant Mol Biology Assoc, Charlottesville, VA, pp 119Google Scholar
  11. Whitaker TW (1939) The use of the feulgen technic with certain plant materials. Stain Technol 14: 13–16Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Kindiger

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations