Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Stephen P. Bush


Genotoxins are chemical compounds that cause damage to deoxyribonucleic acid. Often, these genotoxins enter water systems as municipal runoff and industrial effluent. If damaged DNA occurs within certain genes or cell types, it can proliferate and cause significant impacts within the individual (e.g. tumors) or within the population (e.g. reduced species fitness). The use of in vitro assays is the first step to determining the severity of genotoxic loading within a water system. The original purpose of this experiment was to use the CHO-Kl (Chinese hamster ovary cells) cell line in conjunction with the comet assay in order to determine if there are genotoxins in the waterways of Horry County, South Carolina. This cell line is robust and used in many assays, but, when exposed to the water samples, they lysed. Those cells could not be used because they would create false positives in the comet assay. The failure of this project was due to time constraints, stochastic factors, and issues with osmolarity.