Nucleic Acid-based Biosensors for the Detection of DNA Damage
Determination of the extent of environmental hazards in polluted water, soil, and sediments is of tremendous importance for managing risks to human health and the environment. Toxicity screening tests allow rapid identification of the presence of potentially harmful substances in environmental matrices. One mechanism for toxicity is genotoxicity. In this chapter, the importance of the development of short-term tests for genotoxicity evaluation is demonstrated as well as the role of biosensors for DNA damage. Biosensor-based genotoxicity assays involve the measurement of chemically induced damage to surrogate DNA or the responses of genetically engineered microorganism reporters that express proteins that can be measured when these organisms are challenged by DNA-damaging chemicals. These two types of systems are described with special emphasis on optical detection.