The Application and Benefits of Comet Assay in Biomonitoring Studies

  • Nevenka Velickova Associate Professor at Faculty of medical science, University “Goce Delcev” – Stip, Krste Misirkov, 10-A,R. Macedonia
Keywords: comet assay, genotoxicology, ecotoxicology, biomonitoring, cells.


This aticle evaluates the benefits, principle and importance of COMET ASSAY, the most common assay which can be applicate in the field of genotoxicology and ecotoxicology. Considering the fact that today's urban living is highly influenced by the intense growth of many industries, one of the goals of the cytogenetic monitoring is to focus on the ability of various chemical compounds to change the structure of chromosomes and DNA. In this article is explain the practical and experimental aspects of COMET ASSAY as a tests which is accepted by World Health Organisation (WHO) and specified in the list of standard short-term tests for genotoxicological screening of human, animal or plant cells.I hope, that this article will be a precious source of knowledge for scientists and researchers in the field of biomedicine and other science which include biomonitoring.


Ostling, O., Johanson, K. J., Microelectrophoretic study of radiation-induced DNA damages in individual mammalian cells. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 123, 291–298, 1984.

Rydberg, B., Johanson, K.J., Estimation of DNA strand breaks in single mammalian cells. DNA Repair Mechanisms, Academic Press, New York, 465-468, 1978.

Singh, N.P., McCoy, M.T., Tice, R.R., Schneider, E. L.. A simple technique for quantitation of low levels of DNA damage in individual cells. Exp. Cell Res., 175, 184–191, 1988.

Collins, A. R., The comet assay for DNA damage and repair: principles, applications, and limitations. Mol. Biotechnol., 26(3):249-61, 2004.

Collins, A.R., Dobson, V.l., Dusinska, M., Kennedy, G., Stetina, R., The comet assay: what can it really tell us? Mutat. Res., 375(2):183-93, 1997.

Moller, P., Genotoxicity of environmental agents assessed by the alkaline comet assay. Basic Clin. Pharmacol. Toxicol., 96(1):1-42, 2005.

Fairbairn, D.W., Olive, P.L., O’Neil, K.L., The comet assay: a comprehensive review. Mutation. Res., 339:37–59, 1995.

Tice, R.R., Furedi-Machacek, M., Satterfield, D., Udumudi, A, Vasquez M, Dunnick, J.K., Measurement of micronucleated erythrocytesand DNA damage during chronic ingestion of phenolphthalein intransgenic female mice heterozygous for the p53 gene. Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 31:113–24, 1998.

Tice, R.R., Agurell, E., Anderson, D., Burlinson, B., Hartmann, A., Kobayashi, H., et al. Single cell gel/Comet Assay: guidelines for in vitro and in vivo genetic toxicology testing. Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 35:206–21, 2000.

Hartmann, A., Agurell, E., Beevers, C., Brendler-Schwaab, S., Burlinson, B., Clay, P., et al. 4th International Comet Assay Workshop. Recommendations for conducting the in vivo alkaline Comet Assay. Mutagenesis, 18:45–51, 2003.

Kumaravel, T.S., Bristow, R.G., Detection of genetic instability at HER-2/neu and p53 loci in breast cancer cells using Comet-FISH. Breast. Cancer Res. Treat, 91:89–93, 2005.

Kumaravel, T.S., Jha, A.N., Reliable Comet Assay measurements for detecting DNA damage induced by ionising radiation and chemicals. Mutat. Res. 605:7–16, 2006.

León-Mejía, G., Quintana, M., Debastiani, R., Dias, J., Espitia-Pérez, L., Hartmann, A., Henriques, Jap and Da Silva J., Genetic damage in coal miners evaluated by buccal micronucleus cytome assay, Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf., 107:133-139, 2014.

Omar, G., Ivonne, R., Jorge, E. Gonz´alez A., Tania, M., Measurements of DNA damage on silver stained comets using free Internet software. Mutation Research., 627:186–190, 2007.

Osipov, A., Arkhangelskaya, E., Vinokurov, A., Smetaninа, N., Zhavoronkov, A. and Klokov, D., DNA Comet Giemsa Staining for Conventional Bright-Field Microscopy, Int J Mol Sci. Apr; 15(4): 6086–6095, 2014.

Hu, J.C., Yao, D.S., Li, R., Lu, Z.S., Qi, Q.P., Yang, X., A modified protocol of comet assay on human buccal cell. Proceedings: Indoor Air, 3568, 2005.

Surikova, E.I., Goroshinskaya, I.A., Frantsiyants, E.M., Tarnopolskaya, O.V., Sirota, P.N., Vladimirova, Lj. J., Tikhanovskaya, N.M., Kuznetsova, E.A., Comet Assay in evaluation of individual DNA-damage of blood leukocytes in breast cancer patients undergone chemotherapy with doxorubicin-containing regimens , Mutagenesis, 2017, vol. 32 no.6 pp. e1–e28, Abstracts of the 12th International Comet Assay Workshop held at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, 29–31, August 2017.