Double Strand Breakage in DNA and Cellular Radiation Sensitivity: Linear Energy Transfer and the Oxygen Effect

  • J. T. Lett
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 49)


Despite more than three decades of extensive research, identification of the chemical changes responsible for the lethal effects of ionizing radiation has yet to be achieved. Indeed, although the general consensus of opinion associates lethal radiation events with damage, and especially double strand breaks, in DNA, there is still lively debate even about the relative contributions of the direct and indirect effects of sparsely ionizing radiations at the cellular level. Causes for the protraction in this eludication process usually can be traced to the difficulty in determining chemical change in mammalian cells after radiation doses of radiobiological significance, to the inflexibility of classical positions, and to an increase in the reluctance of governmental agencies to underwrite experiments with other than predictable outcomes. Some recent signs are more encouraging, however, because definitive scientific advances now seem possible, but they are more likely to come from laboratories in Europe where the expression of originality has not been blunted by dogma and warranty. Areas where modern ideas must provoke much-needed advances in the understanding of the chemistry of strand breakage induced in cellular DNA by ionizing radiations are discussed here.


Linear Energy Transfer Indirect Action Radiation Chemistry Bind Water Molecule Double Strand Breakage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. T. Lett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Radiation BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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