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Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2015 Dec;794:52-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 24.

Evaluation of genotoxicity of the acute gamma radiation on earthworm Eisenia fetida using single cell gel electrophoresis technique (Comet assay).

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Centre for Applied Genetics, Bangalore University, JB campus, Bengaluru 560056, India.
Centre for Applied Genetics, Bangalore University, JB campus, Bengaluru 560056, India. Electronic address:
BRNS-DAE, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400 085, India.


Earthworms (Eisenia fetida) most suitable biological indicators of radioactive pollution. Radiation-induced lesions in DNA can be considered to be molecular markers for early effects of ionizing radiation. Gamma radiation produces a wide spectrum of DNA. Some of these lesions, i.e., DNA strand breaks and alkali labile sites can be detected by the single-cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) or comet assay by measuring the migration of DNA from immobilized nuclear DNA. E. fetida were exposed to different doses of gamma radiation, i.e., 1, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50Gy, and comet assay was performed for all the doses along with control at 1, 3 and 5h post irradiation to evaluate the genotoxicity of gamma radiation in this organism. The DNA damage was measured as percentage of comet tail DNA. A significant increase in DNA damage was observed in samples exposed to 5Gy and above, and the increase in DNA damage was dose dependent i.e., DNA damage was increased with increased doses of radiation. The highest DNA damage was noticed at 1h post irradiation and gradually decreased with time, i.e., at 3 and 5h post irradiation. The present study reveals that gamma radiation induces DNA damage in E. fetida and the comet assay is a sensitive and rapid method for its detection to detect genotoxicity of gamma radiation.


Coelomocytes; Comet assay; Eisenia fetida; Gamma irradiation

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