Data-Driven Homologue Matching for Chromosome Identification

R. Joe Stanley, Missouri University of Science and Technology
J. M. Keller
C. W. Caldwell
Paul Gader

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Karyotyping involves the visualization and classification of chromosomes into standard classes. In "normal" human metaphase spreads, chromosomes occur in homologous pairs for the autosomal classes 1-22, and X chromosome for females. Many existing approaches for performing automated human chromosome image analysis presuppose cell normalcy, containing 46 chromosomes within a metaphase spread with two chromosomes per class. This is an acceptable assumption for routine automated chromosome image analysis. However, many genetic abnormalities are directly linked to structural or numerical aberrations of chromosomes within the metaphase spread. Thus, two chromosomes per class cannot be assumed for anomaly analysis. This paper presents the development of image analysis techniques which are extendible to detecting numerical aberrations evolving from structural abnormalities. Specifically, an approach to identifying "normal" chromosomes from selected class(es) within a metaphase spread is presented. Chromosome assignment to a specific class is initially based on neural networks, followed by banding pattern and centromeric index criteria checking, and concluding with homologue matching. Experimental results are presented comparing neural networks as the sole classifier to the authors'' homologue matcher for identifying class 17 within normal and abnormal metaphase spreads.