The purpose of short-term invitro genotoxicity assays is to predict if a chemical may have a potential to cause cancer and to offer information regarding chemical mechanisms of DNA damage. These tests do not “prove” that something causes cancer, nor is there one single test that provides an unequivocal ruling that a given substance is a carcinogen. A carcinogen is generally accepted as an agent that induces neoplasms in humans or animals, increases the incidence of tumors, or speeds up the time for tumor development. The standard short-term invitro cell culture assays are carried out in bacteria and in mammalian cells. It is generally accepted that a battery of at least three tests are required, which includes assays for bacterial mutagenesis and both mammalian chromosomal aberrations and mutagenesis. Chromosomal aberrations, or visible changes to chromosome structure and morphology are also used to predict carcinogenicity. The assay measures the ability of a test chemical to be clastogenic. The strengths of invitro assays lie in the similarities between bacterial, animal, and human DNA, and the ability of DNA to react with directly genotoxic chemicals. The assays are less expensive and faster to perform than animal experiments, and initial screenings with invitro tests contribute to scientists' ability to decrease unnecessary animal testing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)