Author(s): Grant WF, Grant WF
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Abstract Higher plants provide valuable genetic assay systems for screening and monitoring environmental pollutants. They are now recognized as excellent indicators of cytogenetic and mutagenic effects of environmental chemicals and are applicable for the detection of environmental mutagens both indoor and outdoor. Comparisons between plant and nonplant genetic assay systems indicate that higher plant genetic assays have a high sensitivity (i.e. few false negatives). Two assays which are considered ideal for in situ monitoring and testing of airborne and aqueous mutagenic agents are the Tradescantia stamen hair assay for mutations and the Tradescantia micronucleus assay for chromosome aberrations. Both assays can be used for in vivo and in vitro testing. Other higher plant genotoxicity assays which have a large number of genetic markers and/or data base and are also highly suitable for testing for genotoxic agents include Arabidopsis thaliana, Allium cepa, Hordeum vulgare, Vicia faba, and Zea mays. Since higher plant systems are now recognized as excellent indicators of the cytotoxic, cytogenetic, and mutagenic effects of environmental chemicals and have unique advantages for in situ monitoring and screening it is recommended that higher plant systems be accepted by regulatory authorities as an alternative first-tier assay system for the detection of possible genetic damage resulting from pollution or the use of environmental chemicals. The results from higher plant genetic assays could make a significant contribution in protecting the public from agents that can cause mutation and cancer. The advantages possessed by higher plant genetic assays, which are inexpensive and easy to handle, make them ideal for use by scientists in developing countries.
This article was published in Mutat Res
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology