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Not all the female cheek cells show Barr Bodies when stained with Giemsa stain? Only 30 to 40% female cells show Barr Bodies. Why?

Our Experiment:

We washed mouth twice with listerine to reduce bacteria count, then scraped cheek cells with moistened ear bud then smeared that on clean glass slide. then air drying the smear we fixated it with methanol, then after air drying we applied thin layer of giemsa stain and after 15 minutes drained and washed off extra stain. the cells were stained and we could see the nucleus but nobody could see barr bodies. it was an experiment in our undergraduate lab and nobody could identify barr bodies in female cells. very few samples had barr bodies.

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    $\begingroup$ Please describe how you did the experiment and attach a picture $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Mar 19 '15 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ we washed mouth twice with listerine to reduce bacteria count, then scraped cheek cells with moistened ear bud then smeared that on clean glass slide. then air drying the smear we fixated it with methanol, then after air drying we applied thin layer of giemsa stain and after 15 minutes drained and washed off extra stain. the cells were stained and we could see the nucleus but nobody could see barr bodies. it was an experiment in our undergraduate lab and nobody could identify barr bodies in female cells. very few samples had barr bodies. i will attach pictures soon $\endgroup$ – Punarbasu Roy Mar 19 '15 at 5:58
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Rinsing mouth with tap water and than distilled water is enough, listrene is not needed, use 95 % ethanol instead of methanol, repeat experiment with Wright's stain and carbol fuchsin. Only 40% females show barr bodies.

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    $\begingroup$ This is an interesting experiment description but it doesn't answer the question why Barr bodies are only found in 30-40% of the cells. $\endgroup$ – Chris Dec 4 '16 at 12:44
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I think the issue here is the image is a 2D representation of a 3D object. It may well happen that the Barr bodies are below the Geimsa stained nucleus.

This is the same reason we don't see peripheral nuclei in all muscle fascicles in a muscle cross section.

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