Statistical analysis of in situ hybridization data: Derivation and use of the Zmax test Academic Article uri icon


  • There are many situations in which grain distributions resulting from in situ hybridization of radioactively labeled probes to unique genes should be subjected to a statistical analysis. However, the problems posed by analysis of in situ hybridization data are not straightforward, and no completely satisfying method is currently available. We have developed a procedure in which the major and any number of minor site(s) of hybridization may be specifically located and the significance of each tested. This zmax procedure first tests the overall distribution for departure from randomness and then identifies significantly overlabeled whole chromosomes (or chromosome arms or other large segments), a process that may be repeated to pinpoint significantly overlabeled regions within these chromosomes. We describe in detail the derivation of the zmax statistic, present tables of significant zmax levels, and show with examples how zmax is used in tests of significance of in situ hybridization data.

publication date

  • April 1992