Genotoxicity of four herbicides in the Drosophila wing spot test.
The herbicides alachlor, atrazine, maleic hydrazide and paraquat were evaluated for genotoxicity in the Drosophila melanogaster wing spot test. Third-instar larvae trans-heterozygous for two recessive mutations of wing trichomes, multiple wing hairs (mwh) and flare (flr3), were treated by chronic feeding with different concentrations of the four herbicides. Feeding ended with pupation of the surviving larvae. The genotoxic effects were determined from the appearance of clones of cells with mwh, flr3 or mwh-flr3 phenotypes. Exposure to maleic hydrazide resulted in a significant increase in the frequency of the three categories of spots recorded (small single, large single and twin spots) in a dose-related fashion. Exposure to alachlor induced significant increases in both small and total spots at the four concentrations assayed and in the frequency of twin spots at the highest concentration tested (10 mM). Atrazine and paraquat also induced significant increases in both small and total spots at three of the four concentrations tested, without indication of a direct dose-effect relationship.