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Mouse Lymphoma Assay

Sorcerer Colony Counter is the ideal solution for the soft agar version of the Mouse Lymphoma Assay (MLA) and is used by Contract Research Laboratories across the world.  Using Sorcerer for MLA generates increased productivity, whilst strengthening compliance to GLP regulations and requirements.

Plate counting

colony-counter-screenSorcerer has a purpose built Petri-viewer to obtain a high contrast image of the various sized colonies on the Petri dish. With a single button press, sorcerer instantly counts the plate and groups colonies into size bins based on colony area.

Data collection

Sorcerer is supplied with an Excel workbook specifically developed for MLA.  The workbook can be used to record daily culture maintenance data, as well as counting colonies.

The workbook seamlessly integrates with Sorcerer and allows accurate colony counting with instant size distribution information. After counting both mutant plates and viability plates, the spreadsheet will automatically calculate the mutant frequency, mutant index and relative plating efficiency.


The workbook automatically generates tables for your reports. These data tables are clear, concise and an accepted way of presenting soft agar MLA data. Within the soft agar MLA spreadsheet, you can identify and annotate plates which were not counted. This may include those which have become contaminated, broken, or discarded due to severe toxicity.


The spreadsheet can be configured for different experimental set-ups. You can choose the number of positive controls, negative controls and test cultures, then the spreadsheet is generated with the correct number of rows and columns for your experiment. The spreadsheet can be used for both plus or minus S9 investigations.

About The Assay

applications_mlaThe L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay, using the thymidine kinase (TK) gene, is the most widely used in vitro mammalian cell gene mutation assay. Mammalian cell culture systems, such as this, can be used to detect genetic mutations induced by chemical substances.  The mutations detected include: base pair changes, frameshift and small deletions.

There are two methods for performing the assay, one using soft agar medium for cloning and enumeration of mutants, and the other using liquid medium and 96-well microwell plates.  Mutant cells are deficient in TK due to the forward mutation in the TK locus (from TK+ to TK-).  These mutant cells are plated onto a selective medium containing a lethal analogue, trifluorothymidine (TFT). The mutants are resistant to the cytotoxic effect of TFT and are able to grow on the medium.  The number of mutants after treatment defines the mutagenicity of the test items.

Perceptive Instruments have supplied colony sizing and data processing systems for the soft agar version of the assay for over a decade.

Contact us now to discuss how Sorcerer Colony Counter can work for your MLA experiments.

Sorcerer features for MLA

  • Instant, automatic plate counting
  • High resolution plate imaging
  • Optimal illumination with purpose built lighting for soft agar MLA plates
  • Automatic classification of different colony sizes
  • Instant data export to Excel
  • MLA culture maintenance data included
  • Automatic calculations: mutant frequency, mutant index & relative plating efficiency
  • Logical and concise data presentation – designed with help from current soft agar MLA experts
  • Bespoke spreadsheet configuration – for your soft agar MLA experimental set up
  • GLP and FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance options

Sorcerer Colony Counter

Find out more about Sorcerer Colony Counter.


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