Background

The Group of Mutagenesis from the Department of Genetics and Microbiology in the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) was established in 1980. The founder members (A. Creus and R. Marcos) were initially involved in Population Genetic studies and, as consequence, they had an extensive formation in experimental research using Drosophila melanogaster.

The first scientific activities were carried out using Drosophila as assay organism, evaluating the mutagenic activity of a wide group of environmental pollutants, mainly intercalating agents and pesticides. Since 1986, the use of human lymphocyte cultures has complemented Drosophila in the mutagenic evaluation and, at the same time, the assessment and improvement of different assay systems for genotoxicity testing also became a scientific goal. In 1989, the Group began studies on the biomonitoring of human populations occupationally exposed to agents suspicious of mutagenic/carcinogenic activity as well as with patients treated with chemo-/radiotherapy. Finally, in 1993, the research activity of the Group was extended by including molecular techniques and evaluating the induction of different types of genetic damage. These molecular techniques included both genetic and cytogenetic endpoints the latter being increased significantly at the moment.

In addition, it should be pointed out that this Group has also been considered as a consolidated Research Group of Excellence by the Research Comission of the Autonomous Catalonian Government (1993).

Since the Group was formed, some of its members have learned and perfectioned techniques by spending time in various well known Research Centers that are strongly vinculated to Environmental Mutagenesis and Genetic Toxicology, such as:

  • Sylvius Laboratory de la Universidad de Leiden/Holanda (R. Marcos, J. Surrallés, S. Puerto)
  • Institut für Toxikologie of Züric/Suiza (P. Alba)
  • Department of Genetics de la Universidad de Umeå/Suecia (N. Xamena)
  • BIBRA (British Industrial Biological Research Association) de Londres/UK (R. Marcos, M. Pitarque)
  • Istituto di Genetica de la Universidad de Roma/Italia (N. Xamena, J. Surrallés)
  • Laboratory voor Antropogenetica de la Universidad de Bruselas/Bélgica (J. Surrallés)
  • Unit of Cancer and Nutrition de la CSIRO Adelaida/Australia (J. Surrallés)
  • Institute of Occupational Health de Helsinki/Finlandia (J. Surrallés, M. Pitarque)
  • Instituto de Sanidad Ambiental Carlos III de Madrid (M. Batiste-Alentorn)
  • Department of Genetics de la Universidad de Davis/USA (A. Velázquez)
  • California Institute of Biological Research de California/USA(A. Velázquez)
  • Dipartamento di Scienze dell'Ambiente e del Territorio de la Universidad de Pisa/Italia (G. Ribas)
  • Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology de la Universidad de Edinburgo/UK (S. Soriano)
  • Laboratorio di Tossicologia Comparata ed Ecotossicologia del Istituto Superiore di Sanità en Roma/Italia (M. Pitarque)
  • Dipartamento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare de la Universidad La Sapienza en Roma/Italia ( M. J. Ramírez)
  • Department of Biology en el Johns Hopkins University en Baltimore/USA (S. Soriano)
  • Institute National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale en Clermont-Ferrand/Francia (E. Baldrich)
  • Centro per lo Studio degli Acidi Nucleici de la Universidad "La Sapienza" a Roma/Italia (S. Soriano)
  • Departamento de Biología Molecular de la Universidad de Concepción/Xile (E. Carbonell, R. Marcos)
  • Department of Genetics de la University College of Swansea/UK (E. Carbonell, M.J. Ramírez)
  • Laboratorio de Toxicología Genética Molecular del Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, México D.F./México (M. Pitarque)

 

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