The cytochemical properties of metaphase chromosomes from Chinese hamster and human cells were studied by flow cytometry. This technique allows precise quantitation of the fluorescence properties of individual stained chromosome types. Chromosomes were stained with the following fluorescent DNA stains: Hoechst 33258, DAPI, chromomycin A3, ethidium bromide, and propidium iodide. The relative fluorescence of individual chromosome types varied depending on the stain used, demonstrating that individual chromosome types differ in chemical properties. Flow measurements were performed as a function of stain and chromosome concentration to characterize the number and distribution of stain binding sites. Flow analysis of double stained chromosomes show that bound stains interact by energy transfer with little or no binding competition. For most hamster chromosomes, there is a strong correlation between relative fluorescence and stain base preference suggesting that staining differences may be determined primarily by differences in average base composition. A few hamster chromosome types exhibit anomalous staining which suggests that some other property, such as repetitive DNA sequences, also may be an important determinant of chromosomal staining.
ASJC Scopus subject areas