A cross-platform public domain PC image-analysis program for the comet assay

Mutat Res. 2003 Jan 10;534(1-2):15-20. doi: 10.1016/s1383-5718(02)00251-6.


The single-cell gel electrophoresis, also known as the comet assay, has gained wide-spread popularity as a simple and reliable method to measure genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of physical and chemical agents as well as kinetics of DNA repair. Cells are generally stained with fluorescent dyes. The analysis of comets--damaged cells which form a typical comet-shaped pattern--is greatly facilitated by the use of a computer image-analysis program. Although several image-analysis programs are available commercially, they are expensive and their source codes are not provided. For Macintosh computers a cost-free public domain macro is available on the Internet. No ready for use, cost-free program exists for the PC platform. We have, therefore, developed such a public domain program under the GNU license for PC computers. The program is called CASP and can be run on a variety of hardware and software platforms. Its practical merit was tested on human lymphocytes exposed to gamma-rays and found to yield reproducible results. The binaries for Windows 95 and Linux, together with the source code can be obtained from: http://www.casp.of.pl.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Comet Assay*
  • Computers
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software Design
  • Software*
  • User-Computer Interface