Cytogenetic heteromorphisms: Survey results and reporting practices of Giemsa-band regions that we have pondered for years

Arthur R. Brothman, Nancy R. Schneider, Irene Saikevych, Linda D. Cooley, Merlin G. Butler, Shivanand Patil, James T. Mascarello, Kathleen W. Rao, Gordon W. Dewald, Jonathan P. Park, Diane L. Persons, Daynna J. Wolff, Gail H. Vance

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

32 Scopus citations


Context.-Cytogenetic heteromorphisms (normal variants) pose diagnostic dilemmas. Common Giemsa-band heteromorphisms are not described in the literature, although Giemsa-banding is the method most frequently used in cytogenetic laboratories. Objective.-To summarize the responses from more than 200 cytogeneticists concerning the definition and reporting of cytogenetic heteromorphisms, to offer these responses as a reference for use in clinical interpretations, and to provide guidance for interpretation of newly defined molecular cytogenetic heteromorphisrns. Design.-The Cytogenetics Resource Committee of the College of American Pathologists and the American College of Medical Genetics administered a proficiency testing survey in 1997 to 226 participant cytogenetic laboratories. Supplemental questions asked whether participants considered particular Giemsa-banded chromosomal features to be heteromorphisms and if these would be described in a cytogenetic clinical report. Results.-Responses were obtained from 99% of participants; 61% stated they would include selected heteromorphism data in a clinical report. More than 90% considered prominent short arms, large or double satellites, or increased stalk length on acrocentric chromosomes to be heteromorphisms; 24% to 36% stated that they would include these in a clinical report. Heterochromatic regions on chromosomes 1, 9, 16, and Y were considered heteromorphisms by 97% of participants, and 24% indicated they would report these findings. Pericentric inversions of chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 16, and Y were considered heteromorphisms with more than 75% of respondents indicating they would report these findings. Conclusions.-Responses were not unanimous, but a clear consensus is presented describing which Giemsa-band regions were considered heteromorphisms and which would be reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-949
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

Cite this

Brothman, A. R., Schneider, N. R., Saikevych, I., Cooley, L. D., Butler, M. G., Patil, S., Mascarello, J. T., Rao, K. W., Dewald, G. W., Park, J. P., Persons, D. L., Wolff, D. J., & Vance, G. H. (2006). Cytogenetic heteromorphisms: Survey results and reporting practices of Giemsa-band regions that we have pondered for years. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 130(7), 947-949.