rRNA gene activity was evaluated by cytologic methods in cultured human cells from two different tissues grown under controlled experimental conditions. The modal and average numbers of silver positive nucleolus organizers (NOs) per cell as well as the distribution of cells with different numbers of silver positive NOs and different combinations of D-plus G-group silver stained chromosomes, were evaluated. Statistically significant differences in the average number of silver positive NOs per cell between leukocytes and fibroblasts grown under standard experimental conditions have been demonstrated. The observed differences became sharper in cells cultured under more restrictive conditions. Also, differences in the frequency of silver positivity of specific chromosomal NOs located on individually indentified chromosomes were observed in cells from the same tissue. Furthermore, differences in the frequency of activation of rDNA clusters located on the same chromosome were also observed between cells from the two tissues. The possible biologic meanings of these findings are discussed.
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