The Ames Test

  • Elliot B. Gingold
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


A mutagen is any treatment or chemical substance that can induce heritable changes in genetic material and thereby increase mutation rates. For many decades scientists have been making use of such mutagens with aims as diverse as, on the one hand, increasing yields in strains used for commercial antibiotic production, to, on the other hand, the search for the variants that assist molecular biologists in understanding fundamental cellular processes. For some time, however, it has been apparent that as well as being useful tools, mutagens can be dangerous human health hazards. In particular, a high proportion of mutagens have been shown to have carcinogenic activity. Conversely, 85% of known human carcinogens were found to be mutagenic when tested on bacteria.


Test Compound Test Strain Base Substitution Ames Test Methyl Methane Sulfonate 
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  1. 1.
    Ames, B.N., McCann, J., and Yamasaki, E. (1975) Methods for detecting carcinogens and mutagens with the Salmonella/mammalian microsome mutagenicity test. Mutation Res. 31, 347–364PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Maron, D.M. and Ames, B.N. (1983) Revised methods for the Salmonella mutagenicity test. Mutation Res. 113, 173–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Humana Press Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elliot B. Gingold
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological and Environmental StudiesThe Hatfield PolytechnicUK

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