Telomere arrays have been examined in a wide sampling of avian species, including chicken, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) (Nanda and Schmid, 1994; Nanda et al., 2002). While the Nanda study was not quantitative, the existence of large telomere arrays in birds was quite apparent using traditional FISH techniques. Telomere quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (telomere Q-FISH), a variation of this method, has been utilized effectively in several organisms. Using Q-FISH, telomere length is expressed as a ratio of telomere fluorescence in cells that have undergone erosion to telomere fluorescence in cells in the same tissue section with intact telomeres. The inherent disadvantage of Q-FISH is that only a small subset of telomeres can be examined at any one time relative to the bulk methods (e.g., TRF analysis) (Nakagawa et al., 2004 and references therein).
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