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Umu Chromotest
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The Umu Chromotest, first developed and published by Oda et al., is a biological assay (bioassay) to assess the genotoxic potential of chemical compounds. It is based on the ability of DNA-damaging agents to induce the expression of the umu operon. In connection with the damage inducible (din) genes recA, lexA and umuD, the umuC gene is essentially involved in bacterial mutagenesis through the SOS response.
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The Umu Chromotest, first developed and published by Oda et al., is a biological assay (bioassay) to assess the genotoxic potential of chemical compounds. It is based on the ability of DNA-damaging agents to induce the expression of the umu operon. In connection with the damage inducible (din) genes recA, lexA and umuD, the umuC gene is essentially involved in bacterial mutagenesis through the SOS response. This test uses an operon fusion placing the lac operon (responsible for producing β-galactosidase, a protein which degrades lactose) under the control of the umu-related proteins. A simple colorimetric test is possible by adding a lactose analog which is degraded by β-galactosidase, producing a colored compound which can be measured quantitatively through spectrophotometry. The degree of color development is an indirect measure of the β-galactosidase produced, which itself is directly related to the amount of DNA damage. The Umu Chromotest has the added advantage of having its procedure codified under ISO 13829 "Water Quality- Determination of genotoxicity of water and waste water using the umu-test". Although genotoxicity cannot be linked directly to the development of cancer in humans, a strong correlation between genotoxic effects in bacteria and their mutagenic and tumor-initiating properties in mammals has been shown to exist.
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