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The semiconservative nature of DNA replication allows the differential labeling of sister chromatids that is the fundamental requirement to perform the sister-chromatid exchange (SCE) assay. SCE assay is a powerful technique to visually detect the physical exchange of DNA between sister chromatids. SCEs could result as a consequence of DNA damage repair by homologous recombination (HR) during DNA replication. Here, we provide the detailed protocol to perform the SCE assay in cultured human cells. Cells are exposed to the thymidine analog 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) during two cell cycles, resulting in the two sister chromatids having differential incorporation of the analog. After metaphase spreads preparation and further processing, SCEs are nicely visualized under the microscope.

Citation

Emanuela Tumini, Andrés Aguilera. The Sister-Chromatid Exchange Assay in Human Cells. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2021;2153:383-393

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PMID: 32840793

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