A procedure for optimizing the configuration of flow cytometers for enumerating micronucleated erythrocytes is described. The method is based on the use of a biological model for micronucleated erythrocytes, the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. P. berghei endows target cells of interest (erythrocytes) with a micronucleus-like DNA content. Unlike micronuclei, parasitized red blood cells have a homogenous DNA content, and can be very prevalent in circulation. These characteristics make malaria-infected erythrocytes extremely well suited for optimizing instrument setup on a daily basis. The experiment described herein was designed to test the hypothesis that malaria-infected erythrocytes can greatly enhance the consistency with which flow cytometers are configured for micronucleus analyses, and thereby minimize intra- and interexperimental variation. Data collected over the course of several months, on two different flow cytometers, supports the premise that malaria-infected blood represents a useful biological standard which helps ensure reliable and consistent flow cytometric enumeration of rare micronucleated erythrocytes.