Medical Definition of Fluorescent in situ hybridization

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Fluorescence in situ hybridization: An important molecular cytogenetic method for identifying chromosomes and parts of chromosomes, deciphering chromosome rearrangements, and locating genes on chromosomes.

"Fluorescence" means emitting light that comes from a reaction within the emitter. "In situ" refers to the fact that this techniques is done with the chromosomes, cells or tissue in place (in situ) on a microscope slide.

In situ hybridization is a technique in which single-stranded nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) are permitted to interact so that complexes, or hybrids, are formed by molecules with sufficiently similar, complementary sequences. Through nucleic acid hybridization, the degree of sequence identity can be determined and specific sequences detected and sometimes those sequences can be located on a specific chromosome. A nucleic acid labelled with a fluorescent dye is hybridized to suitably prepared cells or histological sections. This is used particularly to look for specific transcription or localization of genes to specific chromosomes.

Fluorescence in situ hybridization is abbreviated FISH.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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