A quantitative comparison of a percentile rule with a 2-fold rule for assessing mutagenicity in the Ames assay

Mutat Res. Feb-Apr 1985;147(1-2):15-21. doi: 10.1016/0165-1161(85)90013-5.


Using a model based on the bivariate normal density function, this paper compares the effectiveness of two commonly employed decision rules for assessing mutagenicity in the standard Ames Salmonella assay. The 2-fold method, which considers a compound significantly mutagenic if its mean number of revertants per plate at any dose is equal to or greater than twice the mean number of revertants per plate in the concurrent control, may be a poor indicator of significant mutagenesis. In the percentile method, the frequency of induced mutations for the test compound is tested against the 95th percentile of the accumulated historical data for the spontaneous mutation frequency. As judged by the higher probability of declaring a compound mutagenic that elevates the reversion rate above background, the percentile rule is more reliable than the 2-fold method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Mutagenicity Tests*
  • Probability
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Statistics as Topic