Flow Cytometry - What is Flow Cytometry?

Flow cytometry (abbreviated: FCM) is a technique for counting and examining microscopic particles, such as cells and chromosomes, by suspending them in a stream of fluid and passing them by an electronic detection apparatus.

It allows simultaneous multiparametric analysis of the physical and/or chemical characteristics of up to thousands of particles per second.

Flow cytometry is routinely used in the diagnosis of health disorders, especially blood cancers, but has many other applications in both research and clinical practice.

A common variation is to physically sort particles based on their properties, so as to purify populations of interest.

The technology has applications in a number of fields, including molecular biology, pathology, immunology, plant biology and marine biology.

It has broad application in medicine (especially in transplantation, hematology, tumor immunology and chemotherapy, genetics and sperm sorting for sex preselection).

In marine biology, the auto-fluorescent properties of photosynthetic plankton can be exploited by flow cytometry in order to characterise abundance and community structure.

In protein engineering, flow cytometry is used in conjunction with yeast display and bacterial display to identify cell surface-displayed protein variants with desired properties.

Further Reading


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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

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