A public domain image-analysis program for the single-cell gel-electrophoresis (comet) assay

Mutat Res. 2000 Mar 3;466(1):9-15. doi: 10.1016/s1383-5718(99)00232-6.


The single-cell gel electrophoresis (or comet) assay has gained widespread acceptance as a cheap and simple genotoxicity test, but it requires a computer-assisted image-analysis system. As commercial programs are expensive and inflexible, we decided to develop an image-analysis system based on public domain programs and make it publicly available for the scientific community. Our system is based on the scientific image-processing program NIH Image, and was written in its Pascal-like macro language. User interaction was kept as simple as possible, to enable the measurement of a large number of cells with a few keystrokes. Therefore, the time for image analysis is very low, even on slow computers. The comet macro can be obtained from http://mailbox.univie.ac.at/christoph.helma++ +/comet/, NIH Image is available at http://rsb.info.nih.gov/nih-image/. Both programs are free of charge.

MeSH terms

  • Comet Assay / methods*
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Damage
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Software*


  • DNA