Destabilizing Effects of Ionizing Radiation on Chromosomes: Sizing up the Damage

Michael N. Cornforth, Joel S. Bedford, Susan M. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


For long-term survival and evolution, all organisms have depended on a delicate balance between processes involved in maintaining stability of their genomes and opposing processes that lead toward destabilization. At the level of mammalian somatic cells in renewal tissues, events or conditions that can tip this balance toward instability have attracted special interest in connection with carcinogenesis. Mutations affecting DNA (and its subsequent repair) would, of course, be a major consideration here. These may occur spontaneously through endogenous cellular processes or as a result of exposure to mutagenic environmental agents. It is in this context that we discuss the rather unique destabilizing effects of ionizing radiation (IR) in terms of its ability to cause large-scale structural rearrangements to the genome. We present arguments supporting the conclusion that these and other important effects of IR originate largely from microscopically visible chromosome aberrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-351
Number of pages24
JournalCytogenetic and Genome Research
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Chromosome aberrations
  • DNA sequencing
  • Inversions
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Mutations
  • dGH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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