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Somatic cell hybrids are produced by fusing two somatic cells that have been grown in independent cell cultures. Usually the cells are human and murine, fusion being achieved by a virus.
After fusion, the new cell has temporarily a double chromosome complement that is gradually reduced by random expulsion of either murine or human chromosomes. The remaining chromosomes can be identified by morphology and staining.
In culture, the hybrid cell can be tested for the presence of a variety of gene products. The presence, or deficiency, of these products can be associated with the presence, or absence, of a particular chromosome, thus localising function to site.
Similar principles are used in the production of transgenic animals.