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June 1962

Chromatin, Chromosomes, and Ophthalmology

Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;67(6):697-700. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960020697001

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Although recent developments in chromosomology have stirred up a tidal wave of interest within biology and some areas of medicine, they have caused scarcely a ripple in ophthalmology. It may be well, therefore, to take note of these new activities outside our immediate orbits (literally) and to ask ourselves what ophthalmology can do, if anything, to participate in them.

The new era of chromosome study began in 1949 when Canadian anatomists Barr and Bertram discovered that nerve cells of the female cat could be distinguished from nerve cells of the male cat by a distinctive chromatin mass adjacent to the nuclear membrane. This was found to be true for other species and for a wide variety of tissues (Fig. 1). Currently nuclear sexing, as it may be called, is done on buccal smears with no more elaborate technique than a simple scraping and a basophilic stain.

The origin of the

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