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Micronuclei are also prospective indicators of cancer risk.

Micronuclei are formed during mitosis from a whole chromosome lagging behind the rest, or from an acentric fragment detached from a chromosome and not attached to the spindle.

Good indicators of the effect of DNA damage.


Figure Micronucleus (MN) formed during abnormal mitosis.


Figure Micronucleus formation

When assessing micronuclei, Cytochalasin B is included in the assay, as it blocks mitosis without blocking replication and nuclear division. Micronuclei are scored only if they are in binucleate cells, so it is more likely that they are of recent origin'.

Micronucleus frequency in stimulated lymphocytes increases with age and is higher in women than in men.