Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

An Approach for Assessing Total Cellular DNA Damage



Marc Roy


The capability to relate phenotypic effects with damage associated with either of the two genomes is especially useful under a number of circumstances. Potential hazardous exposures (e.g. smoking, pesticides, uv-light) can be evaluated for genotoxicity and related to carcinogenesis. This association is also particularly important in determining the safety of various chemical agents and prospective therapeutic pharmaceuticals. Many techniques exist that afford the ability to identify and measure cellular DNA damage upon exposure to a suspected genotoxic agent. Recent advances in cellular-based methods have resulted in the timely collection of reliable and specific data regarding levels of damage and the identity of the damage products. Antibodies developed for certain DNA damage lesions now allow for the direct measurement of those lesions within a population of exposed cells. The automation of the single cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay and the use of scoring software have also led to rapid data collection that is standardized and without individual prejudice. Developments within the comet assay methodology has led to the acceptance and utilization by health authorities, who regard it as at least equivalent to existing techniques (i.e. micronuclei, chromosome aberration test) with regulatory acceptance. Under similar experimental conditions, it has also been demonstrated that the levels of DNA damage measured using the comet assay are comparable with those observed with using HPLC analyses. These techniques will be briefly highlighted in this article.


8-oxoguanine, anti-8-oxoguanine, antibodies for DNA damage, cellular DNA damage, comet assay, mitochondrial DNA damage, nuclear DNA damage


Roy, M. (2008), An Approach for Assessing Total Cellular DNA Damage, Biotechniques (Accessed July 14, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 16, 2008