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Mutat Res. 1985 Aug-Sep;157(2-3):157-62.

Mutagenic effects of some water-soluble metal compounds in a somatic eye-color test system in Drosophila melanogaster.


Nickel, cadmium, lead, arsenic, manganese and chromium salts as well as MeHgOH were screened for mutagenicity, using a sensitive somatic eye-color test system in Drosophila melanogaster. The test is based on the insertion of a mobile element which causes instability in the white locus that is somatically enhanced by mutagens. This white locus expression is combined with a mutation, zeste, in another gene, to produce a light yellow eye color. Larval feeding with mutagens causes somatic mutations in the eye imaginal disc cells that develop into easily detectable red spots in the yellow eyes of adult males. Survival tests showed large differences in the toxicity of different metals, but only hexavalent chromium increased the frequency of somatic mutations above the control level. When combined treatments were carried out with MMS and various metals, sodium arsenite caused a reduction of the MMS-induced mutation frequency while methylmercury increased the frequency of somatic spots.

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