From Bacteria to Man, the Evolution of Mutagenicity Testing

  • Marvin S. Legator
  • Barbara L. Harper


In a little over a decade the field of toxicology has seen an unprecendented growth in the sub-area known as Genetic Toxicology or Molecular Toxicology. In the early development of this field, a great deal of optimism was generated as a result of identification of mutagen-carcinogenic agents in simple bacterial tester strains. This optimism has slowly given way to a more realistic understanding of the area, and the realization of a need for more complex studies that can be conducted with microorganisms. In recent years, the need to evaluate the effects of chemicals on the complex organization of DNA in mammalian systems, and the necessity of intact animal studies, where pharmacokinetic effects and relevant host metabolic pathways can be taken into account, is generally accepted as a pre-requisite for chemical evaluation. In addition to animal procedures, we now have the unique capability of detecting potential carcinogens in man by a variety of short-term procedures. The unique contribution of this field to the fundamental understanding of the modification of the genetic process by chemicals and its potential for alleviating some of the major afflictions occuring in man, however, remains unchallenged.


Chemical Carcinogen Chemical Mutagenesis Carcinogenic Potency Genetic Toxicology Recessive Lethal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marvin S. Legator
    • 1
  • Barbara L. Harper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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