Spectral karyotype (SKY) is a karyotype in which the homologous pairs of chromosomes are manipulated in such a way that they have distinctive colors. The SKY technique makes it easier for scientists to detect chromosomal abnormalities, as compared with a conventional karyotype.
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The SKY refers to spectral karyotyping. A karyotype is essentially a photograph of chromosomes that allow researchers and medical doctors to examine the chromosomes of an individual patient or an individual organism. It's particularly useful for looking for chromosomal abnormalities. The innovation of SKY is that it gives each chromosome a different color, so that it's easy to determine which is Chromosome 1 and which is Chromosome 18, so it's much easier for researchers and clinicians to figure out abnormalities of the chromosomes.
Christopher P. Austin, M.D.
Director, NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC); Senior Advisor for Translational Research, Office of the Director
Dr. Austin's research focuses on development of reagents and technologies to translate genome sequence into functional insights. As director of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), part of a network of screening centers that produce chemical probes for use in biological research and drug development, Dr. Austin is spearheading a chemical genomics program that brings the power of small-molecule chemistry and informatics to the elucidation of gene function. Just as the Human Genome Project accelerated gene identification, this initiative promises to speed discoveries on gene function and lead to the development of new therapies for human disease.