Spontaneous Mutations and Fidelogens

  • R. C. von Borstel
  • Ursula G. G. Hennig
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 61)


The word “antimutagenesis” was first used by Novick and Szilard (51) to describe the lowering of the spontaneous mutation rate. Since then, Kada (26) has made antimutagenesis into a generic word to describe two types of events: the inactivation of mutagens or carcinogens before they can reach the DNA, and the events which can restore the DNA after lesions have occurred. J.W. Drake suggested the word “desmutagens” to Kada for mutagen inactivators, and P.J. Hastings since has suggested “countermutagens” as a synonym, and perhaps a more appropriate term. “Inhibition” of the spontaneous mutation rate, which Novick and Szilard were talking about, has plodded along without a species name, although Kada et al. (27) used the term “bioantimutagenesis” for the types of reactions which act at the level of the DNA, including both inhibition of inducibility of mutagenic repair processes and the lowering of the spontaneous mutation rate. The lowering of the spontaneous mutation rate deserves a name of its own, perhaps reflecting the essential quality of improving the fidelity with which DNA normally is replicated and repaired. Steinberg has recommended the term “fidelogen” as an alternative word for “bioantimutagen.” Fidelogens cover three classes, the “rate droppers,” which lower the spontaneous mutation rate, the “gash healers,” which reverse the lesions inducted by mutagens and carcinogens, and the “SOS stoppers,” which eliminate inducibility of mutagenic DNA repair. The perfect fidelogen is one that will carry out at least the first two of these three functions.


Hydroxymethyl Cytosine Meiotic Effect Spontaneous Mutation Rate Sodium Saccharin Glycine Ethylester 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. von Borstel
    • 1
  • Ursula G. G. Hennig
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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