1 Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Galveston,Texas 77555, USA
2 Department of Neurology, University of Cagliari, Monserato, Sardenia, Italy
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an important antioxidant and there is a wide spread supplementation of diets with vitamin C among the general population in the form of tablets or powder. Vitamin C is also present in multi-vitamin tablets along with Zn and other transitional metal ions. Recent reports, however, have suggested that vitamin C exhibits Vpro-oxidant properties and in vitro it can produce genotoxins. Furthermore, a combination of vitamin C and transitional metal ions had an additive effect in in vitro studies. These results raise the possibility of mutagenic toxicity for vitamin C with or without the transitional metal ions. We performed a genetic screen to test if vitamin C can cause mutations in vivo using the model organism Drosophila. We report that a combination of vitamin C and Zn had no mutagenic activity in vivo in Drosophila. Additionally, we describe a simple screen using Drosophila to test mutagenic activity of any compound.
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