UNIT 7.3 Differential Staining of DNA and RNA

  1. Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz,
  2. Gloria Juan

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142956.cy0703s00

Current Protocols in Cytometry

Current Protocols in Cytometry

How to Cite

Darzynkiewicz, Z. and Juan, G. 2001. Differential Staining of DNA and RNA. Current Protocols in Cytometry. 7:7.3.

Author Information

  1. New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: APR 1997

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (1 NOV 2004)


Cell cycle analysis by means of differential staining of RNA and DNA permits determination of RNA content, which in turn allows one to discriminate G0 versus G1 cells and to detect cell differentiation. This unit presents two protocols for differential staining, one using the metachromatic dye acridine orange (AO) and the other a combination of pyronin Y (PY) and Hoechst 33342. Each method has its advantages and limitations, and the Hoechst-PY method is not applicable to single-laser instruments.