AMes test

Brad Nicholson brad at
Thu Jan 19 20:56:42 EST 1995

In article <3fmhvn$4ln at>, skonings at (Steve 
Konings) wrote:

> William B. Melchior, Jr. (wmelchior at wrote:
 >: In article <noesis.7.0156607F at>, noesis at (Noesis Vision 
 >: >Does anyone know what the Ames test is used for?  
 >Not sure how the test is/was performed, but it looks at mutation rates,
    >More Snips<

Hello Steve;
As I remember from my toxicology class, the Ames test detects compounds 
that are mutagenic.  It uses a strain of Salmonella that is auxotrophic for
Histidine (It can't grow on a minimal media without added histidine.) The 
auxotrophy is caused by a point mutation (nonsense or missense).  This 
mutation can revert to a phenotypic wild type (histidine prototroph) at 
some rate. The idea is that if a chemical, treatment or product is 
mutagenic, then the rate of reversion to histidine prototrophy will 
I think that there are several versions of the Ames test out there.  
Different strains of Salmonella with different mutant loci.  Different 
protocols, I dimly remember hearing of a Rat liver enzyme mix to pre-treat 
the chemical in question.  Some nasties aren't mutagenic until they are 

Hope this helped, I apologize in advance for any faulty information.

Brad Nicholson              |"If it worked the first time, it wouldn't be 
Department of Pathology     |	research."...Brad Nicholson
University of Utah          |	Live from behind the Zion Curtian.
Salt Lake City, UT 84132    | 
brad at    |
or: (801)-581-4365          | My opinions are solely my own.

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