Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 255–263 | Cite as

Directional genomic hybridization: inversions as a potential biodosimeter for retrospective radiation exposure

  • F. Andrew RayEmail author
  • Erin Robinson
  • Miles McKenna
  • Megumi Hada
  • Kerry George
  • Francis Cucinotta
  • Edwin H. Goodwin
  • Joel S. Bedford
  • Susan M. Bailey
  • Michael N. Cornforth
Original Paper


Chromosome aberrations in blood lymphocytes provide a useful measure of past exposure to ionizing radiation. Despite the widespread and successful use of the dicentric assay for retrospective biodosimetry, the approach suffers substantial drawbacks, including the fact that dicentrics in circulating blood have a rather short half-life (roughly 1–2 years by most estimates). So-called symmetrical aberrations such as translocations are far more stable in that regard, but their high background frequency, which increases with age, also makes them less than ideal for biodosimetry. We developed a cytogenetic assay for potential use in retrospective biodosimetry that is based on the detection of chromosomal inversions, another symmetrical aberration whose transmissibility (stability) is also ostensibly high. Many of the well-known difficulties associated with inversion detection were circumvented through the use of directional genomic hybridization, a method of molecular cytogenetics that is less labor intensive and better able to detect small chromosomal inversions than other currently available approaches. Here, we report the dose-dependent induction of inversions following exposure to radiations with vastly different ionization densities [i.e., linear energy transfer (LET)]. Our results show a dramatic dose-dependent difference in the yields of inversions induced by low-LET gamma rays, as compared to more damaging high-LET charged particles similar to those encountered in deep space.


Chromosome inversions Biodosimetry Ionizing radiation FISH DGH Directional genomic hybridization Strand-specific hybridization 



Funding for this work from NASA (NNX08AB65G; NNX09CE42P; NNX10CB05C; NNJ06HA29A) and NIH/NIAID (R01AI080486-02) is gratefully acknowledged.

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest may be perceived for FAR, EHG, JSB, SMB and MNC as they are founders and shareholders of KromaTiD Inc.

Ethical standards

The experiments reported here comply with the ethical standards for research in the United States of America.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Andrew Ray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erin Robinson
    • 2
  • Miles McKenna
    • 2
  • Megumi Hada
    • 3
  • Kerry George
    • 4
  • Francis Cucinotta
    • 5
  • Edwin H. Goodwin
    • 2
  • Joel S. Bedford
    • 1
  • Susan M. Bailey
    • 1
  • Michael N. Cornforth
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Environmental & Radiological Health SciencesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.KromaTiD Inc.Fort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.Universities Space Research AssociationHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Wyle Science, Technology and Engineering GroupHoustonUSA
  5. 5.National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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