Assays to determine DNA repair ability

Vanessa Valdiglesias, Eduardo Pasaro, Josefina Mendez, Blanca Laffon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA repair is crucial to the integrity of the human genome since mammalian cells are continuously exposed to different chemical and physical genotoxic agents. To counteract the lesions induced by these agents, organisms have developed a number of highly conserved repair mechanisms involving numerous protein complexes grouped in several different repair pathways. The importance of studying the individual capacity to repair DNA damage lies in the observation that deficient repair mechanisms of the genome have been linked to the presence of large number of diseases and cancer, and alterations in these mechanisms may also alter the susceptibility of individuals exposed to a particular mutagen. This review focused on the current knowledge of different assays developed to evaluate DNA repair capacity (DRC). These assays, which are grouped into five major categories, have been successfully applied in (1) in vitro studies, (2) epidemiological studies in patients with cancer or other different pathologies, and (3) environmentally or occupationally exposed populations. Nevertheless, some of the limitations include high interlaboratory variability and difficulty to implement the assays on a large scale. The selection of an adequate DRC assay needs to be made on the basis of the objective raised for its application and taking into account a number of determining factors, namely, (1) speed and cost, (2) type of DNA repair to be evaluated, and (3) sample availability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1094-1109
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number15-16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology


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