Increased consumption of green vegetables in the diet has been associated with protection against carcinogenic effects and related mutagenic and clastogenic (chromosome breaking) activity of genotoxic agents. Chlorophyll, present in all green plant parts, has been suggested to be a major protective factor in the process. We have, however, observed that while a crude aqueous extract of Indian spinach leaf significantly reduced genotoxic effects, chlorophyll alone was ineffective. On the other hand, chlorophyll, both as an aqueous extract from the leaf and in a purified commercial form, induced a significantly high frequency of chromosome breaks in bone marrow eels of mice on oral administration. The crude aqueous extract of the leaf was non-toxic. The protective activity of the crude leaf extract may be attributed to the total effect of the interaction between different components, in which the clastogenicity of chlorophyll has been neutralized.