UNIT 7.26 Assessment of Telomere Length, Phenotype, and DNA Content

  1. Ingrid Schmid,
  2. Beth D. Jamieson

Published Online: 1 SEP 2004

DOI: 10.1002/0471142956.cy0726s29

Current Protocols in Cytometry

Current Protocols in Cytometry

How to Cite

Schmid, I. and Jamieson, B. D. 2004. Assessment of Telomere Length, Phenotype, and DNA Content. Current Protocols in Cytometry. 29:7.26:7.26.1–7.26.13.

Author Information

  1. David Geffen School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 SEP 2004
  2. Published Print: JUL 2004


Telomere sequences at the end of chromosomes control somatic cell division; therefore, telomere length in a given cell population provides information about its replication potential. This unit describes a method for flow cytometric measurement of telomere length in subpopulations using fluorescence in situ hybridization of fluorescently-labeled probes (Flow-FISH) without prior cell separation. After cells are stained for surface immunofluorescence, antigen-antibody complexes are covalently cross-linked onto cell membranes before FISH with a telomere-specific probe. Cells with long telomeres are included as internal standards. Addition of a DNA dye permits exclusion of proliferating cells during data analysis. DNA ploidy measurements of cells of interest and internal standard are performed on separate aliquots in parallel to Flow-FISH. Telomere fluorescence of G0/1 cells of subpopulations and internal standards obtained from Flow-FISH are normalized for DNA ploidy and telomere length in subsets of interest is expressed as a fraction of the internal standard telomere length.


  • fluorescence in situ hybridization;
  • Flow-FISH;
  • telomeres;
  • telomere length;
  • cell surface immunofluorescence