Metaphase chromosome associations: Colcemid distorts the pattern.

Abstract

The nonrandom pattern of the spatial arrangement of chromosomes in the human metaphase complement has been resolved into separate properties by statistical analysis of matrices of ranks of interchromosomal distances averaged over sets of 25 or 50 metaphases. Assessment of the effect of a mitotic-arresting agent, Colcemid, on each of the properties of the pattern shows that those properties for which a spindle fiber dependence may be postulated are disordered by Colcemid, while the tendency for the acrocentric chromosomes to associate, attributable to their mutual participation in nucleolar organization, is not impaired by Colcemid. Furthermore, this analysis has revealed that chromosomes 21 and 22 display an exceptional propensity to be generally associative, i.e., to be close to all chromosomes; that property is obliterated by Colcemid. Since a mitotic-arresting agent is routinely used in the preparation of cells for cytogenetic analysis, that property has hitherto not been recognized.

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