Professor Alexander Bürkle and Dr. Maria Moreno-Villanueva
The prizewinners from Konstanz, Maria Moreno-Villanueva and Alexander Bürkle, examine genotoxicity, which is the altering effect of chemical substances on the genetic material of cells. Previously, this would require large quantities of serum obtained from bovine foetuses. In contrast, the prizewinning method injects into the cells a dye that fluoresces in varying ways depending on the effect of the substance being tested. Its intensity is greatest if the cell’s DNA is preserved as a double strand, which indicates that no genotoxicity is present. Conversely, the intensity of the dye lessens when double-stranded DNA decreases and single-stranded DNA increases. This points to breaks in the genetic material and thus genotoxicity. This patent-pending method is likewise highly automated and allows a large number of substances to be tested within a short time.