The International Comet Assay Workshop

Diana Anderson, Michael J. Plewa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Comet (single cell gel electrophoresis) assay primarily measures DNA strand breakage in single cells. Briefly, cells are suspended in low melting point agarose on a microscope slide. The slides are put in lysing buffer to allow the DNA to unwind and then in electrophoresis buffer. During electrophoresis the broken DNA moves towards the anode forming a Comet tail, with the greater the extent of damage, the greater the tail. Assays can be conducted under neutral or alkaline (> pH 13) conditions. Double-strand breaks are measured under neutral conditions and single-strand breaks under alkaline conditions, where abasic sites and other alkali-labile sites or intermediates in base or nucleotide excision repair can also be detected. There are several good reviews concerning the assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Toxicology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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