The comet assay is a sensitive method for the evaluation of DNA damages and DNA repair capacity at single-cell level. Allium cepa is a well-established plant model for toxicological studies. The aim of this scoping review was to investigate the recent application of the comet assay in Allium cepa root cells to assess the genotoxicity. To explore the literature a search was performed selecting articles published between January 2015 and February 2023 from Web of Science, PubMed, and Scopus databases using the combined search terms "Comet assay" and "Allium cepa". All the original articles that applied the comet assay to Allium cepa root cells were included. Of the 334 records initially found, 79 articles were identified as meeting the inclusion criteria. Some studies reported results for two or more toxicants. In these cases, the data for each toxicant were treated separately. Thus, the number of analyzed toxicants (such as chemicals, new materials, and environmental matrices) was higher than the number of selected papers and reached 90. The current use of the Allium-comet assay seems to be directed towards two types of approach: the direct study of the genotoxicity of compounds, mainly biocides (20% of analyzed compounds) and nano- and microparticles (17%), and assessing a treatment's ability to reduce or eliminate genotoxicity of known genotoxicants (19%). Although the genotoxicity identified by the Allium-comet assay is only one piece of a larger puzzle, this method could be considered a useful tool for screening the genotoxic potential of compounds released into the environment.
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