Advantages of and Problems with Short-Term Mutagenicity Tests for the Assessment of Mutagenic and Carcinogenic Risk

Claes Ramel
1983 Environmental Health Perspectives  
The Salmonella microsomal assay has become an indispensible tool for the screening of mutagens and carcinogens, particularly when a large number of samples have to be tested, as in the present context for the screening of air pollution. However, for a more definite identification of potential carcinogens, a verification of the results from bacterial tests has to be performed with a battery of other tests, including point mutations and chromosomal aberrations in eukoaryotic systems. While there
more » ... stems. While there is a close qualitative correlation between the mutagenic and carcinogenic property of chemicals, a corresponding quantitative correlation between the mutagenic and carcinogenic potency is not always found. One reason for this lack of quantitative correlation presumably depends on the fact that cancer is induced in two steps, of which only the initiating, but not the promoting, step constitutes a mutational event, which is reflected by mutagenicity tests. Present mutagenicity tests have concentrated on discrete major mutations, while mutations of polygenes, acting on quantitative characters, have largely been omitted. Mutational data from Drosophila indicate, however, that polygenes mutate at a considerably higher rate than major genes and that they have a comparatively strong effect in heterozygous condition. It seems of great importance to develop appropriate methods to study induced mutations of polygenic systems and to get a better understanding of the properties of these genetic systems and an evaluation of the risk connected with induced mutations in polygenes. 157
doi:10.2307/3429506 fatcat:cp7n3wmvnbd4pp7ppoyfhxr5ka