Identification and cloning of the human

How to make Clear Slides for In Vitro Chromosomal Aberration Assay

The in vitro chromosomal aberration assay is a crucial tool in genetic toxicology, used to evaluate the potential of a substance to cause chromosomal damage. The clarity of the slides prepared for microscopic examination is paramount to the success of this assay. This article will guide you through the process of preparing clear slides for the in vitro chromosomal aberration assay and provide troubleshooting tips for common problems.

How to make Clear Slides for In Vitro Chromosomal Aberration Assay

Materials Required

  1. Cells treated with the test substance
  2. Colcemid solution
  3. Hypotonic solution (0.075M KCl)
  4. Fixative solution (3:1 methanol:acetic acid)
  5. Glass slides
  6. Giemsa stain

Procedure for Slide Preparation

Step 1: Cell Harvesting and Colcemid Treatment

After treating the cells with the test substance, add Colcemid solution to arrest the cells in metaphase. This makes the chromosomes more visible under the microscope.

Step 2: Hypotonic Treatment

After incubation with Colcemid, treat the cells with a hypotonic solution (0.075M KCl). This causes the cells to swell, spreading the chromosomes apart and making them easier to observe.

Step 3: Fixation

Fix the cells using a 3:1 methanol:acetic acid solution. This step preserves the cells and enhances the contrast of the chromosomes.

Step 4: Slide Preparation

Drop the fixed cells onto clean, dry glass slides. Allow the slides to air-dry before staining.

Step 5: Staining

Stain the slides with Giemsa stain to visualize the chromosomes. After staining, rinse the slides with water and allow them to air-dry.

Troubleshooting Tips for In Vitro Chromosomal Aberration Assay

Problem: Poor chromosome spreading

Solution: Ensure that the hypotonic treatment and fixation steps are performed correctly. Adjust the dropping height during slide preparation to improve chromosome spreading.

Problem: Poor staining

Solution: Ensure that the slides are properly fixed before staining. If the staining is still poor, increase the staining time.

Problem: High background or debris

Solution: Ensure that the cells are thoroughly washed before fixation. If the problem persists, the fixative solution may need to be refreshed.

Problem: Chromosomes appear distorted or broken

Solution: This could be due to over-fixation. Reduce the fixation time to prevent this issue.

Problem: Faint or uneven staining

Solution: This could be due to inadequate rinsing after staining. Ensure to rinse the slides thoroughly but gently under running water. If the problem persists, the stain may be expired or contaminated and may need to be replaced.

Problem: Presence of air bubbles under the cover slip

Solution: Air bubbles can interfere with microscopic examination. To avoid this, lower the cover slip at an angle onto the slide to push out any air. If bubbles are still present, gently press on the cover slip to push them out.

Problem: Cells or chromosomes appear shriveled or shrunken

Solution: This could be due to over-dehydration of the slides during the air-drying step. Ensure to air-dry the slides just until the liquid has evaporated, but not longer.

Problem: Difficulty in identifying individual chromosomes

Solution: This could be due to over-staining or under-staining. Adjust the staining time as necessary. Also, ensure that the cells are properly treated with hypotonic solution and Colcemid to promote chromosome spreading.

Problem: Slides have a high background or are too dark to read

Solution: This could be due to over-staining. Reduce the staining time and ensure to rinse the slides thoroughly after staining.

Remember, troubleshooting often involves a process of elimination and may require multiple attempts to resolve the issue. Always ensure to follow the protocol closely and maintain a clean and organized workspace to prevent cross-contamination or other errors.


Preparing clear slides for the in vitro chromosomal aberration assay is a meticulous process that requires careful handling and attention to detail. However, with this step-by-step guide and troubleshooting tips, you should be well-equipped to prepare high-quality slides for your experiments. Remember, the quality of your slides can significantly impact the results of your assay, so always ensure to use fresh and high-quality materials.

Latest Science News From Witfire