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General Overview Of The Comet Assay | 32007
ISSN: 2161-0495

Journal of Clinical Toxicology
Open Access

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General overview of the comet assay

4th Global Summit on Toxicology

Diana Anderson

Keynote: J Clin Toxicol

DOI: 10.4172/2161-0495.S1.014


The comet assay measures DNA strand breaks in single cells. Cells in agarose on a microscope slide are lysed with detergent
and high salt. Electrophoresis results in structures resembling comet tails formed by DNA fragments moving towards
the anode. The assay is used for testing genotoxicity, ecotoxicity, human biomonitoring, molecular epidemiology and basic
research into DNA damage and repair and effects of nanoparticles. This overview will consider examples from the author’s
group and collaborators. These will include the work on the specificity and sensitivity of the assay for testing genotoxicity, the
work with DBP halogenated acetic acids for ecotoxins, the work with mother and babies, diabetes and lead-exposed children
for human bio-monitoring and molecular epidemiology and the work on the drug resistant Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients
over-expressing p53 mutant protein and lacking DNA repair for fundamental research, respectively. Most of this work is on
somatic human lymphocytes and human sperm. Using sperm, the positive response to oestrogens can be diminished with
anti-oxidants, suggesting an ROS involvement. Also as age increases in men, so does DNA damage and in both cell types
nanoparticles of zinc and titanium dioxide can also produce damage. When modified, it can be used as a blood test to predict
cancer. From a regulatory viewpoint, the assay is regarded as an indicator test, and has been incorporated into guidelines in
some countries.


Diana Anderson holds the Established Chair in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bradford. She obtained her first degree in the University of Wales and
second degrees in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manchester. She has over 450 peer-reviewed papers, 8 books, has successfully supervised 26 PhDs, and
been an Editorial Boards Member of 10 international journals. She has been or is Editor in Chief of a book Series on toxicology for J. Wiley and sons and the Royal
Society of Chemistry respectively. She gives key note addresses at various international meetings. She is a consultant for many international organisations, such
as the WHO, NATO, TWAS, UNIDO and the OECD.