(redirected from mutagenicity)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to mutagenicity: mutagenesis


see mutationmutation,
in biology, a sudden, random change in a gene, or unit of hereditary material, that can alter an inheritable characteristic. Most mutations are not beneficial, since any change in the delicate balance of an organism having a high level of adaptation to its environment
..... Click the link for more information.



a physical or chemical substance that causes permanent hereditary change.

Physical mutagens include ultraviolet radiation and all kinds of ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays, X rays, protons, and neutrons. High and low temperatures are much less capable of causing mutations.

As study intensifies, the list of compounds with mutagenic action grows longer. Among the chemical mutagens are many alkylating compounds, for example, mustard gas, dimethyl sulfate, and nitrosomethylurea; analogs of nitrogenous bases of the nucleic acids, for example, 5-bromouracil and 2-aminopurine; acridine dyes; nitrous acid; some alkaloids; formaldehyde; hydrogen peroxide and some organic peroxides; and some bio-polymers, for example, heterologous DNA and, apparently, heterologous RNA.

The most powerful chemical mutagens, which increase the frequency of mutations hundreds of times, are called super-mutagens. Some viruses might also be considered chemical mutagens, since the mutagenic factor in viruses seems to be located in their DNA or RNA.

Mutagens are apparently universal, that is, they can cause mutations in all forms of life—from viruses and bacteria to the higher plants, animals, and man. Various species differ in their mutability, that is, their sensitivity to mutagens. None of the known mutagens appear to have a lower limit of mutagenic action. However, the frequency of induced mutations decreases with the decreasing dose of mutagen to a point that matches the frequency of spontaneous mutations regularly occurring in the absence of any mutagen.

Physical and chemical mutagens are widely used in breeding agriculturally useful plants and useful microorganisms. Once the mutation is induced, the mutant is artificially removed from the population and bred as a separate species. These mutations are used in artificial selection.


See references under .


An agent that raises the frequency of mutation above the spontaneous or background rate.


a substance or agent that can induce genetic mutation
References in periodicals archive ?
We calculated mutagenicity emission factors in the same way we calculated the pollution-emission factors described above.
Methods for detecting carcinogens and mutagens with the Salmonella/mammalianmicrosome mutagenicity test.
The present study demonstrates that mutagenicity was induced and was statistically significant as from eight weeks exposure to mosquito coil smoke.
For example, the LLGC algorithm performs better than the other SSL methods on the NCI dataset, but it is outperformed on the Mutagenicity and MUSK datasets.
High values of mutagenic indices with the strain TA98 plus the S9 enzyme activator found below the mouth of the Southern Channel indicate the possibility that the mutagenicity affects not only the bacteria tested, but also mammals [14, 16, 20, 23, 24].
To assess SuL mutagenicity, doses of 10, 30, 50, and 100 mg/kg body weight (bw) were administered by intraperitoneal injection (ip) to groups of five animals for each treatment.
These include, as before, mutagenicity, teratogenicity or carcinogenicity, but now also include significant organ toxicity at or near the expected human exposure.
Relations between drinking water mutagenicity and water quality parameters.
The new study details a comprehensive investigation of DBPs and mutagenicity of water samples collected from two indoor pools, one disinfected with chlorine, the other with bromine.
The current International Conference of Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) recommends a battery of tests for the registration of pharmaceuticals, requiring an assessment of mutagenicity in a bacterium, such as the Ames test, plus an in vitro test with cytogenetic evaluation of chromosomal damage in mammalian cells, such as the micronucleus test or an assessment of mutagenicity in mammalian cells, such as the mouse lymphoma assay.
Data from in vivo transgenic assays is examined to help clarify specific pre-mutagenic adducts and the DNA repair functions and mutational events that may be involved in the mutagenicity of human carcinogens.