Genotoxicity testing of five herbicides in the Drosophila wing spot test.
Four triazine herbicides: amitrole, metribuzin, prometryn and terbutryn, and the bipyridal compound diquat dibromide have been evaluated for genotoxicity in the wing somatic mutation and recombination test of Drosophila melanogaster, following standard procedures. Third-instar larvae trans-heterozygous for the third chromosome recessive markers multiple wing hairs (mwh) and flare-3 (flr(3)) were chronically fed with different concentrations of the test compounds. Feeding ended with pupation of the surviving larvae. Genetic changes induced in somatic cells of the wing's imaginal discs lead to the formation of mutant clones on the wing blade. Point mutation, chromosome breakage and mitotic recombination produce single spots; while twin spots are produced only by mitotic recombination. Exposure to 0.5 mM and 1 mM of amitrole clearly increased the frequency of small single, large single and total spots. Terbutryn, at the concentration of 5 mM, induced a slight increase in the frequency of small single and total spots, but this result could be false positive. The other three herbicides tested did not show any genotoxic effect. When heterozygous larvae for mwh and the multiple inverted TM3 balancer chromosomes were treated, significant increases in the frequency of mutant spots were only detected for amitrole. The observed spot frequencies were lower than those found in mwh/flr(3)50%) of the total spot induction was due to mitotic recombination.