The comet assay is a sensitive, well established technique for quantifying DNA damage in eukaryotic cells. Compatible with the detection of a wide range of DNA damaging agents, its principle consists in the migration of fragmented DNA in an electrophoresis gel (damaged DNA forming the tail of the comet), while intact DNA moves at a slower rate (head of the comet). The percentage of fragmented DNA in the comet tail is a direct measure of DNA damage.

The comets are evaluated via fluorescence staining and microscopy. Two drawbacks are often mentioned about the comet assay: preparing the comet slides with cells in agarose to perform electrophoresis is time consuming and reduce the throughput of the method, and, if manual scoring of the comets are done, there can be a high inter-operator variability.

In HCS Pharma, We have combined processes to perform an automated comet assay, from the cell and agarose handling, to comet assessment and scoring, by using automated instrumentation and a 96-well format comet slide. This fully automated process can allow us to test your compounds or active ingredients in medium throughut (96-well plates) either in genotoxicity assays or in efficacy assay as DNA damage protection assays .