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Ames' test

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A screening test for the potentially carcinogenic effect of substances.

Description

Synonym: Ames assay. A widely used screening test for the potentially carcinogenic effect of substances – their mutagenic effect on microorganisms, cells- and tissue cultures. It relies on the observation that the most common cause of cancer is somatic mutations brought about by DNA damage. Chemicals that damage bacterial DNA, and induce mutations, are also likely to cause mutations in mammalian cells. Doing the assay in bacteria gives much faster and less expensive results than animal studies, with results usually being available in 2 days. With this method it is possible to assay directly the mutagenic and teratogenic effect of the substances in tobacco smoke. Ames used mutants of Salmonella enterica (formerly S. typhimurium).

Bibliography

  • B. N. Ames, et al.
    An improved bacterial test system for the detection and classification of mutagens and carcinogens.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 1973, 70: 782–786.
  • J. McCann, et al:
    Detection of carcinogens as mutagens in the Salmonella/microsome test: Assay of 300 chemicals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 1975, 72: 5135–5139.
  • B. N. Ames, J. McCann:
    Detection of carcinogens as mutagens in the Salmonella/microsome test: Assay of 300 chemicals: Discussion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 1976, 73: 950-954.

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