Cytogenetics Laboratory


      The Cytogenetics Laboratory is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  It is located in HL423, University Hospital, 257-3736.  The laboratory performs chromosome analysis and FISH analysis on peripheral blood, fetal blood, bone marrow aspirates, amniotic fluid, chorionic villi, skin and other tissues, abortus products and some solid tumors.  All specimens must be labeled with the patient's name and hospital number and must be accompanied by a chromosome analysis request form.  Form J529 (Genetic/Prenatal) is to be used for blood amniotic fluid, chorionic villi, skin, tissue and abortus specimens.  Form J530 (Oncology) is to be used for bone marrow aspirates, tumors and blood from Hematology/Oncology patients.  The requisition form must contain the patient's name, hospital number, sex, date of birth, source of specimen, date of specimen collection, and the attending physician's name.  Pertinent clinical information should also be noted on the form.  Any specimens not meeting these requirements cannot be accepted.  All specimens must be collected in such a way as to insure viability and sterility of the sample.  If urgent processing is required on a specimen, please call the laboratory.  Urgent specimens require hand delivery to the laboratory.


Specimen Requirements:


Peripheral blood:

      Children and adults: 3-5 mL in sodium heparin (Green Top) tube

      Neonates and fetal blood: 1-2 mL in sodium heparin (Green Top) tube


Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (FISH):

      Contact Lab for instructions on specimen collection and to inquire about probe availability at



Bone marrow aspirates:

      1-3 mL in sodium heparin (Green Top) tube or syringe.


Amniotic fluid:

      20-30 mL divided among three sterile 10 mL tubes.  Please also send the "first draw" of 1-3 mL in a separate tube.  Make sure to send a completed AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) request form if an AFP level is desired.  This specimen should be protected from light during transport.


Chorionic villi:

      15-30 mg of tissue is desired.  10 mg is the minimum acceptable sample.  All CVS testing must be scheduled in advance with the lab.  A technician will then be available to provide collection media and to assess adequacy of the sample.  Specimens must be received Monday Thursday.  Specimens received on Friday or on a day prior to a holiday will not have results from a direct preparation.



      A 4 mm x 4 mm punch biopsy is preferred.  If Betadine is used to sterilize the skin, please remove all traces of Betadine on the skin with alcohol wipes prior to the biopsy.  (Betadine interferes with cell growth.)  Place sample in a sterile container.**


Abortus specimens:

      Less than 12 weeks gestation: Placenta (chorionic villi) and any identifiable fetal parts.


      Greater than 12 weeks gestation:

      1.   Unclotted cord or cardiac blood.  Place in sodium heparin (Green Top) tube.

      2.   Placenta: sample fetal side near site of cord insertion, deep in placenta and near the large vessels.*

      3.   Lung*

      4.   Kidney*

      5.   Skin*

      6.   Peritoneum*


      *Label each specimen and place in separate sterile containers.


      If fetal demise occurred more than 48-72 hours prior to retrieval of tissue, growth is unlikely to occur.  In the case of prior fetal demise, placenta is most likely to grow.


      **Preferred transport media for skin and tissues (in order of preference):

         1.   Culture media (tubes with culture media can be obtained by calling the lab)

         2.   Sterile normal saline (see below)


      In order to keep specimens moist, either fill transport container entirely with transport media OR wrap specimen in sterile gauze pad and moisten with transport media or saline.  DO NOT FLOAT SPECIMENS IN SALINE.


      Samples are transported at room temperature.  Never place samples in formalin or other fixative.  Do not allow samples to freeze.  Specimens may be refrigerated overnight.