FISH (Fluorescence in situ Hybridisation) at Bristol Genetics Laboratory

What is FISH?


  •   FISH is a rapid, specific, sensitive and versatile technique based on DNA probes annealing to specific target sequences of sample DNA

  • It utilises fluorescently labelled reporter molecules to detect losses, gains or rearrangements at particular loci and to confirm the presence or absence of a particular genetic aberration, when viewed under fluorescence microscopy

  • It is a technique that enables the detection of DNA sequences by exploiting the annealing properties of these molecules

  • The fluorescently labelled probe is homologous to the specific region of interest on the patient DNA

  • It can be applied to a range of tissue types including bone marrow, blood, AF and CVS samples, fresh tissue, pleural fluid, cerebral spinal fluid and formalin fixed paraffin embedded sections (FFPE)

  • It can be used to target DNA in interphase nuclei or metaphase chromosomes, i.e. from uncultured and cultured material

    Why do we use FISH?

  • FISH has a higher resolution than conventional cytogenetics and therefore enables the detection of cryptic (not visible by conventional cytogenetics) deletions or other chromosomal rearrangements. It is also used to complement other techniques

  • FISH enables the rapid analysis of large numbers of cells for a specific target and therefore is more sensitive than conventional cytogenetic analysis 
  • FISH does not require viable cells so can be applied to fixed material, for example FFPE tissue sections

At the BGL FISH is applied for oncology

download FISH Service applications.


BGL use commercially prepared CE marked or validated in-house probes and new probes are incorporated into the repertoire as they become available.

On request, cell suspension may be kept for two years for possible future FISH testing.

Please contact Bristol Genetics Laboratory for up-to-date information regarding new probes.


Last updated: 30/07/2019