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Cytogenetic analysis of quinoa chromosomes using nanoscale imaging and spectroscopy techniques

Zhong Yangquanwei1, Suresh Neethirajan1* and Chithra Karunakaran2

Author Affiliations

1 BioNano Laboratory, Biological Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2 W1, Canada

2 Canadian Light Source, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 2 V3, Canada

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:463  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-463

Published: 6 November 2013


Here we present a high-resolution chromosomal spectral map derived from synchrotron-based soft X-ray spectromicroscopy applied to quinoa species. The label-free characterization of quinoa metaphase chromosomes shows that it consists of organized substructures of DNA-protein complex. The analysis of spectra of chromosomes using the scanning transmission X-ray microscope (STXM) and its superposition of the pattern with the atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images proves that it is possible to precisely locate the gene loci and the DNA packaging inside the chromosomes. STXM has been successfully used to distinguish and quantify the DNA and protein components inside the quinoa chromosomes by visualizing the interphase at up to 30-nm spatial resolution. Our study represents the successful attempt of non-intrusive interrogation and integrating imaging techniques of chromosomes using synchrotron STXM and AFM techniques. The methodology developed for 3-D imaging of chromosomes with chemical specificity and temporal resolution will allow the nanoscale imaging tools to emerge from scientific research and development into broad practical applications such as gene loci tools and biomarker libraries.

Chromosomes; Synchrotron radiation; Soft X-ray spectromicroscopy; Image analysis; Atomic force microscopy; Cytogenetics; DNA-protein composition