Edited by Yao-Shan Fan (Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 204), 411 pp, with illus, Totowa, NJ, Humana Press, 2002.

The book Molecular Cytogenetics: Protocols and Applications, which is a volume in the series Methods in Molecular Biology, is a multiauthored book on the techniques of molecular cytogenetics, specifically fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The book provides the most up-to-date collection of FISH protocols, as well as molecular techniques beyond FISH. It is mainly intended to provide guidance in the performance and interpretation of FISH techniques to laboratory physicians and scientists who offer diagnostic services in genetics and oncology.

The book has 4 major parts/divisions—(1) basic concepts and techniques, (2) evolving techniques and applications, (3) special applications in chromosomal disorders, and (4) special applications in oncology—and has a total of 27 chapters. The first chapter, by the editor, is a concise and excellent overview of the various molecular cytogenetic techniques and their main applications. All subsequent chapters, written by senior scientists and researchers, provide an overview of a specific technique and a discussion of the applications, sensitivity, and limitations of the technique. The overview is followed by a list of materials needed to perform the technique, a method outline, and a final “Notes” section containing tips for best results and troubleshooting that are based on the authors' experience. The chapters are written in an organized and easy-to-follow style, are quite thorough, and are referenced appropriately. The illustrations included are of reasonably good quality. The main methodologies discussed in sections I and II include FISH probe labeling for DNA and RNA targets, chromosome microdissection, spectral karyotyping/multicolor FISH, primed in situ labeling, and fluorescence genotyping as well as other techniques and their applications. Section III, titled “Special Applications in Chromosomal Disorders,” includes molecular approaches for delineating marker chromosomes and interphase FISH for prenatal and preimplantation diagnosis of common aneuploids and microdeletion syndromes. Section IV, titled “Special Applications in Oncology,” includes FISH studies in chronic myelogenous leukemia, HER-2/neu gene amplification in breast cancer, CGH (comparative genomic hybridization) and FISH in cancer investigations, and a combination of techniques such as fluorescence immunophenotyping and FISH on tumor cells.

Overall, this is a well-written book on molecular cytogenetics, and it will likely serve as a quick reference guide to professionals rendering diagnostic services as well as to clinicians who use molecular genetic tests for the diagnosis and clinical management of patients with oncologic diseases, developmental disorders, or reproductive problems. In addition, the book could be a resource to researchers involved in genomic research, developmental biology, and human cancer studies and to students in cytogenetics, hematology, or molecular pathology.