Exclusion of chromosomal mosaicism in amniotic fluid cultures: Efficacy of in situ versus flask techniques

Sau W. Cheung, Edward Spitznagel, Terry Featherstone, James P. Crane

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    Accurate diagnosis of mosaicism in amniotic fluid cell cultures represents a major problem. If insufficient cells are analysed, true fetal mosaicism may go undetected. False‐positive diagnosis is also possible since a second cell line may arise in vitro and not reflect the true fetal genetic constitution. These difficulties apply to both flask and in situ culture techniques, to varying degrees. The relative accuracy of flask versus in situ culture techniques in excluding mosaicism was determined by statistical analysis of experimental data from ten pairs of mixed male‐female amniotic fluid specimens. The data support the idea that the majority of in situ colonies are independent of one another. The following conclusions are drawn: (1) analysis of a single metaphase from a number of different colonies enhances the confidence for excluding mosaicism; (2) analysis of more than one cell per colony offers little advantage; (3) exclusion of a given level of mosaicism requires analysis of fewer metaphases using the in situ method; (4) the confidence for excluding mosaicism is high with both in situ and flask techniques, using the provided guidelines; and (5) it is shown that the two‐stage approach used by many laboratories is currently the most efficient way to exclude mosaicism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-57
    Number of pages17
    JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1990


    • Amniotic fluid culture
    • Chromosomal mosaicism
    • Prenatal diagnosis


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