Domoic acid (DA) is a neurotoxic amino acid naturally produced in the marine environment by some diatom species belonging to the genus Pseudo-nitzschia. Although the neurotoxic properties of DA have been demonstrated, very little is known about in vivo genotoxicity of DA on aquatic organisms. In the present paper, an in vivo study on the genotoxic effects of domoic acid was carried out on a fish, Oreochromis niloticus, using the micronucleus test and the comet assay. The fish were exposed to three doses of domoic acid (1, 5 and 10 mu g/g body weight) by intracoelomic injections. Ethyl methane sulphonate at a single dose of 5 mg/l was used as positive control. Analysis of micronuclei, nuclear abnormalities and DNA damage were carried out on peripheral erythrocytes sampled 24,48 and 72 h post-treatment. Our results revealed significant increases in the frequencies of micronuclei, nuclear abnormalities as well as DNA strand breaks and thus demonstrated the genotoxic potential of DA on fish. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.