The Ames Test: Using Bacteria to Test for Carcinogens


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Which type of bacteria are often used for the Ames test?

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1. If a plate has very few colonies on it after the Ames test, what does it mean?

2. Mutant bacteria are used for the Ames test. What molecule are they not able to make on their own?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

The Ames test is used to determine whether or not a chemical is a harmful mutagen, which causes changes to our DNA sequence. The worksheet will teach you about it, and the quiz will ask you questions on the specifics of the Ames test.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

Use these assessment tools to check your knowledge of:

  • What type of bacteria is used on the Ames test
  • The meaning of a plate having few colonies on it after an Ames test
  • Which molecules mutant bacteria are unable to make on their own
  • Why rat liver enzymes are involved in the Ames test
  • How to define a bacterial colony

Skills Practiced

This worksheet and quiz let you practice the following skills:

  • Interpreting information - verify that you can read information regarding a chemical test and interpret it correctly
  • Defining key concepts - ensure that you can accurately define main phrases, such as bacterial colony
  • Knowledge application - use your knowledge to answer questions about the different facets of the Ames test and the processes behind them

Additional Learning

To learn more about a test devised to detect harmful mutagens, review the corresponding lesson called The Ames Test: Using Bacteria to Test for Carcinogens. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Discuss what mutagens are
  • Examine carcinogens and their harmful effects
  • Describe what the Ames test is and how it can be used to detect carcinogens