The Comet Assay in Toxicology
Chapter 11: Comet Assay in Human Biomonitoring
Published:07 Oct 2016
Special Collection: 2016 ebook collectionSeries: Issues in Toxicology
M. Valverde and E. Rojas, in The Comet Assay in Toxicology, ed. D. Anderson and A. Dhawan, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2nd edn, 2016, ch. 11, pp. 264-313.
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Biomonitoring of human populations exposed to potential mutagens or carcinogens can provide an early detection system for emerging genetic diseases or the initiation of cell misregulation in the development of cancer. During the last few years, the Comet assay, also known as the single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) assay, has become an important tool for assessing DNA damage in exposed populations. To appreciate the role of the comet assay in advancing the field of genetic biomonitoring, we review data from 235 studies employing the comet assay and compare results between studies of environmental hazards, lifestyle conditions and occupational exposures. We also discuss the advantages and shortcomings of the technique with respect to its application as a useful biomarker in the early identification of individuals at risk.