UNIT 4.2 Chromosome Banding Techniques

  1. Rhona R. Schreck1,
  2. Christine M. Distèche2

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142905.hg0402s00

Current Protocols in Human Genetics

Current Protocols in Human Genetics

How to Cite

Schreck, R. R. and Distèche, C. M. 2001. Chromosome Banding Techniques. Current Protocols in Human Genetics. 00:4.2:4.2.1–4.2.36.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

  2. 2

    University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: FEB 1994


Chromosome banding techniques produce a series of consistent landmarks along the length of metaphase chromosomes that allow for both recognition of individual chromosomes within a genome and identification of specific segments of individual chromosomes. These landmarks facilitate assessment of chromosome normalcy, identification of sites of chromosome breaks and alterations, and location of specific genes. This unit covers these basic banding techniques (Q-banding, G-banding, and R-banding), which produce virtually identical patterns of bands along the length of human chromosomes, although the bands and polymorphic regions highlighted may differ with each technique. These techniques highlight reproducible landmarks along the length of the chromosome and specialized staining techniques can be used to highlight particular regions of chromosomes, such as heterochromatic and repeated-sequence segments. These specialized techniques, nucleolar organizer region (NOR) staining, centromeric heterochromatin staining (C-banding), methylated satellite DNA staining (distamycin-DAPI banding), and replication banding are also presented in this unit.