Atrazine is a selective triazine herbicide used to control broadleaf and grassy weeds mainly in corn, sorghum, sugarcane, pineapple, and other crops, and in conifer reforestation planting fields. It has been showed that atrazine is one of the most frequently detected pesticides in agricultural streams and rivers, over the past two decades. Although the toxic properties of atrazine are well known, the data on the genotoxic effects of atrazine on aquatic organisms are rather scarce. Thus, in the present study we aimed to evaluate the genotoxic effects of atrazine and an atrazine-based herbicide (Gesaprim (R)) on a model fish species Carassius auratus L, 1758, (Pisces: Cyprinidae) using the micronucleus test and the comet assay in peripheral blood erythrocytes. Fish were exposed to 5, 10 and 15 mu g/L atrazine and to its commercial formulation for 2,4 and 6 days. Ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) at a single dose of 5 mg/L was used as positive control. Our results revealed significant increases in the frequencies of micronuclei and DNA strand breaks in erythrocytes of C. auratus, following exposure to commercial formulation of atrazine and thus demonstrated the genotoxic potential of this pesticide on fish. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.