Numerical chromosome aberrations in gametes typically lead to failed fertilization, spontaneous abortion or a chromosomally abnormal fetus. By means of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), we now can screen human embryos in vitro for aneuploidy before transferring the embryos to the uterus. PGD allows us to select unaffected embryos for transfer and increases the implantation rate in in vitro fertilization programs. Molecular cytogenetic analyses using multi-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of blastomeres have become the major tool for preimplantation genetic screening of aneuploidy. However, current FISH technology can test for only a small number of chromosome abnormalities and hitherto failed to increase the pregnancy rates as expected. We are in the process of developing multi-color FISH-based technologies to score all 24 chromosomes in single cells within a three-day time limit, which we believe is vital to the clinical setting. Also, human placental cytotrophoblasts (CTBs) at the fetal-maternal interface acquire aneuploidies as they differentiate to an invasive phenotype. About 20–50% of invasive CTB cells from uncomplicated pregnancies were found to be aneuploid, suggesting that the acquisition of aneuploidy is an important component of normal placentation, perhaps limiting the proliferative and invasive potential of CTBs. Since most invasive CTBs are interphase cells and possess extreme heterogeneity, we applied multi-color FISH and repeated hybridizations to investigate the feasibility of a full karyotype analysis of individual CTBs. In summary, this study demonstrates the strength of Spectral Imaging analysis and repeated hybridizations, which provides a basis for full karyotype analysis of single interphase cells.

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