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In this article, the measurement of the potency of a chemical or mixture from its dose response in a particular assay is addressed. Attention is focused on data from the Ames Salmonella assay. Three measures of potency are explored and shown to be highly correlated. The presentation then discusses specific areas of research that might benefit from a study of potency.

Models are presented for use in assessing genetic susceptibility to cancer (or other diseases) with animal or human data. Observations are assumed to be in the form of proportions, hence a binomial sampling distribution is considered. Generalized linear models are employed to model the response as a function of the genetic component; these include logistic and complementary log forms. Susceptibility is measured via odds ratios of response, relative to a background genetic group. Significance tests and confidence intervals for these odds ratios are based on maximum likelihood estimates of the regression parameters. Additional consideration is given to the problem of gene-environment interactions and to testing whether certain genetic identifiers/categories may be collapsed into a smaller set of categories. The collapsibility hypothesis provides an example of a mechanistic context wherein nonhierarchical models for the linear predictor can sometimes make sense.

In studies examining the patterns or spectra of mutational damage, the primary variables of interest are expressed typically as discrete counts within defined categories of damage. Various statistical methods can be applied to test for heterogeneity among the observed spectra of different classes, treatment groups and/or doses of a mutagen. These are described and compared via computer simulations to determine which are most appropriate for practical use in the evaluation of spectral data. Our results suggest that selected, simple modifications of the usual Pearson X2 statistic for contingency tables provide stable false positive error rates near the usual alpha = 0.05 level and also acceptable sensitivity to detect differences among spectra. Extensions to the problem of identifying individual differences within and among mutant spectra are noted.

Experimental features of a transgenic mouse mutation assay based on a lacI target transgene from Escherichia coli are considered in detail. Sources of variability in the experimental protocol that can affect the statistical nature of the observations are examined with the goal of identifying sources of excess variation in the observed mutant fractions. The sources include plate-to-plate (within packages), package-to-package (within animals), and animal-to-animal (within study) variability. Data from two laboratories are evaluated, using various statistical methods to identify excess variability. Results suggest only scattered patterns of excess variability, except possibly in those cases where genomic DNA from test animals is stored for extended periods (e.g., > 90 days) after isolation from tissues. Further study is encouraged to examine the validity and implications of this time/storage-related effect.

We have previously demonstrated mutagenic bypass of pyrimidine dimers during SV40 origin-dependent replication of UV-irradiated DNA in human cell extracts [Thomas, D. C., & Kunkel, T. A. (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90, 7744-7748]. Here we use two vectors having the origin of replication on opposite sides of a lacZ alpha reporter gene to examine the relative probability of mutagenic translesion synthesis on the leading and lagging strands. Although replication of both vectors is inhibited by UVB irradiation in a dose-dependent manner, the covalently closed DNA products of replication contain T4 endonuclease sensitive sites, indicating that bypass of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers occurred. At fluences of 70 and 100 J/m2, the mutant frequencies obtained with both vectors are substantially higher than with control DNAs. Sequence analysis of mutants obtained with both vectors reveal three types of mutations at frequencies significantly above those obtained from replication of undamaged DNA. These are C-->T transitions, accounting for about two-thirds of the mutants, a small number of CC-->TT substitutions, and complex mutations. Comparing the distribution of C-->T substitutions in the two spectra permits an estimation of the probability of mutagenic translesion replication of the same sequence when replicated as the leading or lagging strand. The data suggest that the overall average UV-independent C-->T substitution probability per phenotypically detectable dipyrimidine site is the same during leading and lagging strand replication. However, statistically significant differences are observed when the distribution of C-->T substitutions is considered.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

In dominant lethal studies the primary variables of interest are typically expressed as discrete counts or proportions (e.g., live implants, resorptions, percent pregnant). Simple statistical sampling models for discrete data such as binomial or Poisson generally do not fit this type of data because of extra-binomial or extra-Poisson departures from variability predicted under these simple models. Extra-variability in the fetal response may originate from parental contributions. These can lead to over- or under-dispersion seen as, e.g., extra-binomial variability in the proportion response. Utilizing a large control database, we investigated the relative impact of extra-variability from male or female contributions on the endpoints of interest. Male-related effects did not seem to contribute to overdispersion in our database; female-related effects were, however, evidenced. Various statistical methods were considered to test for significant treatment differences under these forms of sampling variability. Computer simulations were used to evaluate these methods and to determine which are most appropriate for practical use in the evaluation of dominant lethal data. Our results suggest that distribution-free statistical methods such as a nonparametric permutation test or rank-based tests for trend can be recommended for use.

The use of average qualitative concordance between two bioassay endpoints is considered, with emphasis directed at agreement between rats and mice from results of long-term carcinogenicity studies. It is noted that concordance varies as a function of the underlying potency or toxicity of the chemicals over which the averaging is performed. Thus, the averaging process dilutes large observed concordances from potent chemicals, and possibly inflates lower observed concordances from weakly active chemicals. Stratification over some measure of potency is suggested as a method for taking these effects into account. Statistical simulations of concordance analyses limited to low-potency ranges are employed to examine the concordance measure in greater detail. It is seen that at low potencies, observed concordance is consistently underestimated, reaching maximum levels of only about 80%.

Acrylamide is used extensively in sewage and wastewater treatment plants, in the paper and pulp industry, in treatment of potable water, and in research laboratories for chromatography, electrophoresis, and electron microscopy. Dermal contact is a major route of human exposure. It has been shown that acrylamide is highly effective in breaking chromosomes of germ cells of male mice and rats when administered intraperitoneally or orally, resulting both in the early death of conceptuses and in the transmission of reciprocal translocations to live-born progeny. It is now reported that acrylamide is absorbed through the skin of male mice, reaches the germ cells, and induces chromosomal damage. The magnitude of genetic damage appears to be proportional to the dose administered topically.

Exposure of mouse zygotes to ethylene oxide (EtO) or ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) led to high incidences of fetal death and of certain classes of fetal malformations (Generoso et al., 1987, 1988; Rutledge and Generoso, 1989). These effects were not associated with induced chromosomal aberrations (Katoh et al., 1989) nor are they likely to be caused by gene mutations (Generoso et al., 1990). Nevertheless, the anomalies observed in these studies resemble the large class of stillbirths and sporadic defects in humans that are of unknown etiology, such as cleft palate, omphalocoel, clubfoot, hydrops and stillbirths (Czeizel, 1985; Oakley, 1986). Therefore, we continue to study the possible mechanisms relating to induction of these types of zygote-derived anomalies in mice. Effects of zygote exposure to the compounds methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), dimethyl sulfate (DMS), and diethyl sulfate (DES), which have similar DNA-binding properties as EtO and EMS, were studied. DMS and DES, but not MMS, induced effects that are similar to those induced by EtO and EMS. Thus, no site-specific alkylation product was identifiable as the critical target for these zygote-derived anomalies. We speculate that the developmental anomalies arose as a result of altered programming of gene expression during embryogenesis.

Dichotomous response models are common in many experimental settings. Statistical parameters of interest are typically the probabilities, pi, that an experimental unit will respond at the various treatment levels. Herein, simultaneous procedures are considered for multiple comparisons among these probabilities, with attention directed at construction of simultaneous confidence intervals for various functions of the pi. The inferences are based on the asymptotic normality of the maximum likelihood estimator of pi. Specific applications include all pairwise comparisons and comparisons with a fixed (control) treatment. Monte Carlo evaluations are undertaken to examine the small-sample properties of the various procedures. It is seen that use of the usual estimates of variance consistently leads to less-than-nominal empirical coverage for most sample sizes examined. For very large samples (total size greater than about 300), nominal coverage is achieved. A reformulation of the pairwise comparisons using a construction noted by Beal (1987, Biometrics 43, 941-950) is shown to exhibit generally nominal empirical coverage characteristics, and is recommended for use with small-to-moderate sample sizes.

A description and review of methods for performing per-litter analyses involving extrabinomial proportion response is provided. It is stressed that the litter should be regarded as the appropriate experimental unit for quantitative analysis in studies for teratogenic or heritable mutagenic effects. Attention is directed at statistical identification of possible treatment effects, such as a positive dose response to a chemical stimulus. The methods range from distribution-free, nonparametric analyses to models involving parametric distributions such as the beta-binomial density. It is seen that most current methods require computer implementation. When concern is raised over misspecification of assumptions critical to the statistical analysis, it is argued that relatively parameter-free methods are appropriate for use. These include statistical bootstrapping and rank-based analyses.

R. A. Fisher is widely respected for his contributions to both statistics and genetics. For instance, his 1930 text on The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection remains a watershed contribution in that area. Fisher's subsequent research led him to study the work of (Johann) Gregor Mendel, the 19th century monk who first developed the basic principles of heredity with experiments on garden peas. In examining Mendel's original 1865 article, Fisher noted that the conformity between Mendel's reported and proposed (theoretical) ratios of segregating individuals was unusually good, "too good" perhaps. The resulting controversy as to whether Mendel "cooked" his data for presentation has continued to the current day. This review highlights Fisher's most salient points as regards Mendel's "too good" fit, within the context of Fisher's extensive contributions to the development of genetical and evolutionary theory.

The estimation of integrals using numerical quadrature is common in many biological studies. For instance, in biopharmaceutical research the area under curves is a useful quantity in deriving pharmacokinetic parameters and in providing a surrogate measure of the total dose of a compound at a particular site. In this paper, statistical issues as separate from numerical issues are considered in choosing a quadrature rule. The class of Newton-Côtes numerical quadrature procedures is examined from the perspective of minimizing mean squared error (MSE). The MSE are examined for a variety of functions commonly encountered in pharmacokinetics. It is seen that the simplest Newton-Côtes procedure, the trapezoidal rule, frequently provides minimum MSE for a variety of concentration-time shapes and under a variety of response variance conditions. A biopharmaceutical example is presented to illustrate these considerations.

The diploid yeast strain BR1669 was used to study induction of mitotic and meiotic chromosome gain by selected chemical agents. The test relies on a gene dosage selection system in which hyperploidy is detected by the simultaneous increase in copy number of two alleles residing on the right arm of chromosome VIII: arg4-8 and cup1S (Rockmill and Fogel. 1988; Whittaker et al., 1988). Methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) induced mitotic, but not meiotic, chromosome gain. Methyl benzimidazol-2-yl carbamate (MBC) and ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) induced both mitotic and meiotic chromosome gain. Propionitrile, a polar aprotic solvent, induced only mitotic chromosome gain; a reliable response was only achieved by overnight incubation of treated cultures at 0 degrees C. MBC is postulated to act by binding directly to tubulin. The requirement for low-temperature incubation suggests that propionitrile also induces aneuploidy by perturbation of microtubular dynamics. The alkylating agents MMS and EMS probably induce recombination which might in turn perturb chromosome segregation. Cyclophosphamide monohydrate and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) failed to induce mitotic or meiotic chromosome gain.

No abstract given.

Induced mitotic chromosome loss was assayed using diploid yeast strain S. cerevisiae D61.M. The test relies upon the uncovering and expression of multiple recessive markers reflecting the presumptive loss of the chromosome VII homologue carrying the corresponding wild-type alleles. An interlaboratory study was performed in which 12 chemicals were tested under code in 2 laboratories. The results generated by the Berkeley and the Darmstadt laboratories were in close agreement. The solvents benzonitrile and methyl ethyl ketone induced significantly elevated chromosome loss levels. However, a treatment regime that included overnight storage at 0 degree C was required to optimize chromosome loss induction. Hence, these agents are postulated to induce chromosome loss via perturbation of microtubular assembly. Fumaronitrile yielded inconsistent results: induction of chromosome loss and respiratory deficiency was observed in both laboratories, but the response was much more pronounced in the Darmstadt trial than that observed in Berkeley. The mammalian carcinogens, benzene, acrylonitrile, trichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and 1,1,1,2-tetrachloroethane failed to induce chromosome loss but elicited high levels of respiratory deficiency, reflecting anti-mitochondrial activity. Trifluralin, cyclophosphamide monohydrate, diazepam and diethylstilbestrol dipropionate failed to induce any detectable genetic effects. These data suggest that the D61.M system is a reproducible method for detecting induced chromosome loss in yeast.

Dichotomous response models are common in many experimental settings. Often, concomitant explanatory variables are recorded, and a generalized linear model, such as a logit model, is fit. In some cases, interest in specific model parameters is directed only at one-sided departures from some null effect. In these cases, procedures can be developed for testing the null effect against a one-sided alternative. These include Bonferroni-type adjustments of univariate Wald tests, and likelihood ratio tests that employ inequality-constrained multivariate theory. This paper examines such tests of significance. Monte Carlo evaluations are undertaken to examine the small-sample properties of the various procedures. The procedures are seen to perform fairly well, generally achieving their nominal sizes at total sample sizes near 100 experimental units. Extensions to the problem of one-sided tests against a control or standard are also considered.

The diploid yeast strain D61.M was used to study induction of mitotic chromosome loss. The test relies upon the uncovering and expression of multiple recessive markers reflecting the presumptive loss of the chromosome VII homologue carrying the corresponding wild-type alleles. The underlying 'loss event' is probably complex since the predicted centromere-linked lethal tetrad segregations for chromosome VII are not recovered. Instead, the homologue bearing the multiple recessive markers is patently homozygous. An interlaboratory study was performed in which 16 chemicals were tested under code in 2 laboratories. The results generated by the Berkeley and Darmstadt laboratories were in close agreement. Acetonitrile, ethyl acetate, 4-acetylpyridine, propionitrile and nocodazole were identified as potent inducers of mitotic chromosome loss. Acetone, dimethyl sulfoxide and 2-methoxyethyl acetate either elicited weak responses or yielded ambiguous results. Water, carbon tetrachloride, 4-fluoro-D,L-phenylalanine, amphotericin B, griseofulvin, cadmium chloride, ethyl methanesulfonate and methylmercury(II) chloride failed to induce chromosome loss. These data suggest that the system described herein represents a reliable assay for chemically induced chromosome loss in yeast.

Statistical methods are considered for analysis of data arising from a mitotic chromosome loss assay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain D61.M. The methods make use of reproducibility trial data from the assay (presented herein) and previous data, which suggest a unimodal, 'umbrella-patterned' dose response. Computer simulations are employed to illustrate the operating characteristics of the umbrella response methods. These methods are generally applicable to any toxicity assay that exhibits a downturn in dose response. Experimental design considerations are also discussed. These include applications of 2-stage sampling rules to first gauge the dose window of peak response, then test if the response deviates significantly from untreated levels.

Optimal allocations of experimental resources for the estimation of integrals is considered for experiments that use destructive sampling. Given a set of sampling times, a minimum mean square error rule is given for the allotment of fixed experimental resources to the independent variable. The results are seen to be functionally dependent upon the pattern of underlying variability assumed in the model and upon the quadrature rule used to estimate the integral. Extensions to other optimality criteria, including a minimum mean absolute deviation criterion, and to cases involving multiple treatment groups, are also noted.

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