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Comparative Cytogenetics

  1. Matthew Breen1,
  2. Cordelia Langford2

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005801.pub2



How to Cite

Breen, M. and Langford, C. 2008. Comparative Cytogenetics. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

  2. 2

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 JUL 2015)


In the pre-genomics era, the field of comparative cytogenetics was restricted to the comparison of banded chromosome preparations of the species being studied. The development of molecular biology and subsequent convergence of this field with conventional cytogenetics led to the development of molecular cytogenetics. The application of molecular cytogenetics, in particular multicolour fluorescence in situ hybridization (MFISH), has revolutionized our ability to compare genomes at the chromosomal, subchromosomal and molecular levels, leading to much more defined knowledge about the processes of chromosomal rearrangement that have occurred during evolution. In this article we review very briefly some of the work that has led to a greater understanding of the comparative cytogenetics of mammals, in the context of their relationship to the human karyotype.


  • chromosomes;
  • karyotype evolution;
  • molecular cytogenetics;
  • rearrangement;
  • Zoo-FISH