Chemical mutagens

Chemical Mutagen

    Chemical Mutagen
    • The material is soaked in a solution of the mutagen to induce mutations.
    • Chemical mutagens are generally carcinogenic and must be used with great caution.
    • One of the most effective chemical mutagenic groups is the group of alkylating agents (these react with the DNA by alkylating the phosphate groups as well as the purines and pyrimidines).
    • Another group is the base analogues (they are closely related to the DNA bases and can be wrongly incorporated during replication); examples are 5-bromo uracil and maleic hydrazine. (Chemical mutagens commonly used are ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) and diethylsulfonate (DES).
    • The half-life (time taken for degradation of the initial amount of alkylating agent) for EMS in water is about 3 hours at 20°C but only 10 hours at 37°C.
    • Consequently, chemical mutagens are best freshly prepared for each occasion.

    Mutagen group


    Base analogues

    5-bromouracil, 5-bromodeoxyuridine

    Related compounds

    Maleic hydrazide, 8-ethoxy caffeine


    Actinomycin D, Mitomycin C, Streptonigrin

    Alkylating agents

    Sulfur mustards Ethyl–2-chloroethyl sulfide
    Nitrogen mustards 2-chloroethyl-dimethyl amine
    Epoxides Ethylene oxide
    Ethyleneimines Ethyleneimine
    Sulfonates, etc. Ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS),
    Diethylsulfonate (DES)

    Nitroso compounds
    Nitrous acid

    N-ethyl-N-nitroso urea
    Sodium azide
    Nitrous acid
    Acridine orange

Last modified: Monday, 12 March 2012, 10:32 AM