Nevin Manimala Statistics

Determination of a Positive Response in the Ames Salmonella Mutagenicity Assay

Environ Mol Mutagen. 2023 Mar 14. doi: 10.1002/em.22538. Online ahead of print.


Genetic toxicology tests are used to categorize substances as genotoxic and potentially carcinogenic. In general, test results are designated as mutagenic, not mutagenic, or inconclusive and, depending on its potential use and applicable regulations, a mutagenic result can restrict or remove a substance from further development, or assign limits to its use. In these tests, mutation responses form a continuum without a clear delineation between an increase over the background, untreated, mutant frequency and a frequency that would define the test substance as a mutagen and a potential carcinogenic hazard. This situation is illustrated using the Salmonella mutagenicity (Ames) test which is the initial, and often only, test used to characterize substances as mutagenic or nonmutagenic. It has its widest use by industry and regulatory authorities to identify potential carcinogens among chemicals in development. The OECD Test Guideline No. 471 has been adopted by regulatory agencies internationally, and describes the minimum requirements for a negative response, but does not provide a specific approach for evaluating the test data. The most widely used criterion for making yes-or-no mutagenicity decisions is a 2- or 3-fold increase over the background (solvent) mutant frequency. Other approaches rely on formal statistics and/or expert judgment. These approaches and recently proposed modifications are evaluated here. Recommendations are made that are in conformity with the OECD guideline and are based on biological relevance and the biology of the mutagenic response rather than on arbitrary decision points (e.g., ≥ 2-fold increase or p ≤ .05).

PMID:36916210 | DOI:10.1002/em.22538

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