The single cell gel electrophoresis assay (comet assay): a European review

Mutat Res. 1993 Jul;288(1):47-63. doi: 10.1016/0027-5107(93)90207-v.


The single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) assay is a rapid, simple, visual and sensitive technique for measuring DNA breakage in individual mammalian cells. Here we review the development of the SCGE assay (with particular reference to the alkaline version), existing protocols for the detection and analysis of comets, the relevant underlying principles determining the behaviour of DNA, and the potential applications of the technique.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / drug effects*
  • DNA / radiation effects
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel / methods*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods
  • Mutagens / analysis


  • Mutagens
  • DNA