The “Comet Assay” was performed as previously described [27]. Specifically, zebrafish and cavefish cells were cultured according to former reports. For the irradiation experiments, regularly passaged cells were transferred to 6-well plates at a concentration of 5×105 cells/mL, in a total volume of 2 mL per well. Cells were incubated overnight in the dark according to specific culturing conditions. After 24h, cells were exposed to specific doses of UV radiation (160 and 640 J/m2), using a UV-strata linker (Stratagene). A non-exposed plate served as negative control. Following irradiation, cells were returned to the incubator and sampled at specific time points (0, 1, 2, and 4h) in quadruplicates. Sampled cells were detached by trypsinization and embedded in 0.7% low-melting agarose on microscope slides and lysed in a slide chamber containing alkaline lysis buffer at 4°C overnight. Subsequently, slides were transferred to the electrophoresis chamber (Bio-Rad), filled with ice-cold buffer. Electrophoresis was conducted at 25 V and 0.3 A for 20 min. Finally, slides were neutralized, stained with ethidium bromide (EtBr) and then imaged using an epifluorescence microscope (Zeiss Axiostar) equipped with a green light excitation filter of 518 nm. Images were analyzed according to the Olive Tail Moment system [62].

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