ISSN 10623604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2014, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 134–142. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2014.
Original Russian Text © C.G. Ordzhonikidze, T.B. Demidova, E.Yu. Krysanov, 2014, published in Ontogenez, 2014, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 170–179.
During ontogenesis, the organism is affected by a
wide range of factors, both internal and external. One of
the primary features of the living organism is homeosta
sis maintenance ability on both general organism state
and its different parts alike. Under normal conditions,
the organism reacts to the environment influence by
means of the complex physiological system of buffer
homeostatic mechanisms. These mechanisms keep the
optimal development process running. Under negative
conditions, these mechanisms may be damaged. Such
homeostasis disturbances may occur before the emer
gence of changes and is generally used as vitality param
eters of living organisms.
The homeostasis changes reveal basic changes in liv
ing organisms activity and are expressed in the processes
running on different levels from molecular to organis
mic level and, therefore, they can be estimated in differ
ent parameters by means of various methods. The abil
ity to maintain the relative consistence and entity of
genetic systems can be named genetic homeostasis.
Various methods of genetic homeostasis assessment
exist: from molecular to cytogenetic. The present
review attempts to consider the finite range of cytoge
netic methods of genetic homeostasis assessment,
mainly as regards their application to natural animal
populations during different stages of ontogenesis.
Direct or indirect chemicaltoxicological analysis of a
biological sample is insufficient for understanding the
potential danger of various attacks. The complex assess
ment of organism responses to various toxic attacks at
different organization levels is essential.
The article was translated by the authors.
Among the main cytogenetic methods, there are
such methods as DNA damage frequencies analysis
indicated by Comet Assay, micronuclus test, chromo
some aberration frequency, and sister chromatid
exchanges frequency tests.
At present, Comet Assay and micronuclei test are
the most widespread and frequently used tests, whereas
the chromosome aberration and sister chromatid
exchanges frequencies are used comparatively rarely.
It should also be mentioned that the primary atten
tion in the present article will be drawn to in vivo appli
cations of the abovementioned methods.
Singlecell gel electrophoresis or the Comet Assay is
one of the most perspective methods in monitoring
genotoxic effects of a wide range of both anthropogenic
and environmental factors in animals and plants in vivo.
This sensitive method allows us to evaluate primary
DNA damage, which may result in the future in chro
mosomal aberrations and cell proliferation and differ
entiation failure and in apoptosis and pathogenesis in
various tissues and organs. As a consequence of genetic
disturbances, the decrease of reproductive success of
animals, which is a guaranty of successful population
existence, may occur. Thus, ecotoxicological parame
ters of the environment and the biotic response are of
particular importance in ecological studies with regard
to the cooperation of the species with environmental
Suggested by Rydberg and Johanson in 1978 and
developed later by Olive and Banáth (2006), the method
Evaluation of Genetic Homeostasis in Animals at Different Stages
of Ontogenesis in the Environment
C. G. Ordzhonikidze
, T. B. Demidova
, and E. Yu. Krysanov
Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, RAS, ul. Gubkina 7, Moscow, 119991 Russia
Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Leninsky prospect 33, Moscow, 119071 Russia
Received December 11, 2013; in final form, January 14, 2014
—Modern methods of genetic homeostasis assessment in animals are described in the present arti
cle. The single gelelectrophoresis test (Comet Assay), micronuclei test, chromosome aberration frequency,
and sister chromatid exchanges are reviewed in detail. The questions of testsensitivity of given methods and
principles or their application for genetic homeostasis assessment in wild populations of animals are consid
: genetic homeostasis, Comet Assay, micronuclei test, chromosome aberrations, sister chromatid
exchanges, environment, animals, ontogenesis