The detection of point mutation at specific loci in Zea mays for use in research in environmental mutagenesis is described. The frequency of forward or reverse mutation at the waxy locus may be determined in gametophytes (pollen grains) and this provides the measurement of large numbers of individuals and thus a high genetic resolution. The analysis of mutation induction in pollen grains is well suited for in situ studies. Methods to identify forward mutation at the yellow-green-2 locus in leaf primordial cells and the use of this assay to identify mutagenic agents after acute exposure are presented. These rapid, relatively simple point mutation assays can be used to evaluate the genotoxic hazards of environmental agents and complex environmental mixtures in developing countries.
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