Sexing whole human pre-embryos by in-situ hybridization with a Y-chromosome specific DNA probe

West, J.D.; Gosden, J.R.; Angell, R.R.; West, K.M.; Glasier, A.F.; Thatcher, S.S.; Baird, D.T.

Human Reproduction 3(8): 1010-1019


ISSN/ISBN: 0268-1161
PMID: 3204144
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.humrep.a136814
Accession: 041353009

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We have used DNA-DNA in-situ hybridization with a DNA probe for the human Y-chromosome to distinguish between male and female human pre-embryos. Both biotinylated and tritiated Y-probes worked well on control cell cultures where 100 interphase nuclei were scored. Morphologically normal pre-embryos could be sexed with confidence with the tritiated Y-probe but the biotin results were less reliable (although only a few pre-embryos were analysed in this way). Early cleavage stage pre-embryos had large nuclei with relatively diffuse Y-bodies and were more difficult to score with the biotinylated Y-probe. Morphologically abnormal pre-embryos often had large nuclei with multiple Y-bodies (presumably polyploid nuclei) or small nuclei with no Y-bodies (possibly fragmenting nuclei). In all, 38 cleaving and two non-cleaving pre-embryos were analysed. The incidence of false positive and false negative cells seen after hybridization of tritiated Y-probes to control lymphocyte cultures suggests that it should normally be possible to distinguish morphologically normal male and female pre-embryos with samples of three to six interphase nuclei.