By L. Costa, et al.
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Extra resources for Current Protocols in Toxicology
Given that it is possible to handle large numbers of experimental units in systems that use small test organisms, it is possible to detect both weak and strong mutagens. What are the background mutation level and the variability in the technique? As any good genetic or general toxicologist will acknowledge, matched concurrent control groups are essential. Fortunately, with these test systems large N’s are readily attainable. Instrumentation and Technique Factors Most if not all toxicology studies depend on at least some instrumentation.
Fortunately, it is now fairly well accepted that the first case (using the number of offspring as the N) is inappropriate (Weil, 1970). The real effects in such studies are actually occurring in the female that receives the dosage or exposure to the chemical or that is mated to a male that received a dosage or exposure. What happens to her, and to the development of the litter she is carrying, is biologically independent of what happens to every other female/litter in the study. This cannot be said for each offspring in each litter; the death of, or other change in, one member of a litter can and will be related to what happens to every other member in numerous fashions.
E. 1975. Tests for trend in life table analysis. Biometrika 62:679-682. R. and Stuart, A. 1955. Some quick tests for trend in location and dispersion. Biometrics 42:80-95. C. 1977. False-positive and false-negative rates for carcinogenicity screens. Cancer Res. 27:19411945. R. 1997. Visual Explanations. Graphic Press, Cheshire, Conn. S. 1970. Selection of the valid number of sampling units and a consideration of their combination in toxicological studies involving reproduction, teratogenesis or carcinogenesis.