Technology for automated analysis of maize pollen used as a marker for mutation: 1. Flow-through systems
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Maize pollen is used as a monitor for environmental pollutants. Mutant pollen grains (induced by environmental pollutants) are detectable above a background frequency of 5 or less in 10(5). To enumerate a satisfactory number of mutant grains, it is necessary to count 10(6) grains in a sample, a laborious, time-consuming process which should be amenable to automated analysis techniques. High resolution image analysis technology has been used in the morphologic assessment of rare cells in a sample, provided a suitable training set could be devised to instruct the computer on the characteristics of the rare cells. On the other hand, flow cytometry uses primarily cytochemical means for detection and has been shown to detect rare events. Hence, the two technologies, which may be viewed as complementary, are suitable for the task. Alternatively, a hybrid technology employing both cell sorter and image analysis techniques may be extremely desirable for this problem. The potential for archival storage of analyzed samples is very attractive when considering the possibility of an adversary relationship between a putative regulator and polluter.
Tyrer HW (1981) Technology for automated analysis of maize pollen used as a marker for mutation: 1. Flow-through systems. Environmental Health Perspectives 37: 137-142