The Sister Chromatid Exchange (SCE) Assay

  • Dawn M. Stults
  • Michael W. Killen
  • Paola Marco-Casanova
  • Andrew J. PierceEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2102)


A fully optimized staining method for detecting sister chromatid exchanges in cultured cells is presented. The method gives reproducibly robust quantitative results. Sister chromatid exchange is a classic toxicology assay for genotoxicity and for detecting alterations to the biochemistry underlying cellular homologous recombination. Growth of cells in the presence of 5′-bromo-deoxyuridine for two rounds of DNA replication followed by collecting metaphase spreads on glass slides, treatment with the UV-sensitive dye Hoechst 33258, long-wave UV light exposure, and Giemsa staining gives a permanent record of the exchanges.

Key words

Sister chromatid exchange (SCE) Homologous recombination (HR) Genotoxicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn M. Stults
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael W. Killen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Paola Marco-Casanova
    • 5
  • Andrew J. Pierce
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate Center for ToxicologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Clovis OncologyBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  5. 5.Translational Medicine, Oncology R&D, AstraZenecaCambridgeUnited Kingdom
  6. 6.Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Markey Cancer CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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