Radiation quality and intra-chromosomal aberrations: Size matters

Michael N. Cornforth, Marco Durante

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The shift from plant to mammalian cell models in radiation cytogenetics hastened the development of methods suitable for the analysis of chromosome-type aberrations. These included methods to detect interchanges that take place between different chromosomes (dicentrics and translocations), and intrachanges occurring within a given chromosome (rings, interstitial deletions and inversions). In this review we consider the relationship between chromosome-type interchanges and intrachanges in response to changes in ionization density (linear energy transfer; LET). In that context, we discuss advantages and disadvantages of more modern methods used to measure intrachanges, and the implications that their increased resolution of measurement may have on the inter-to-intrachange fraction (i.e., the F-ratio). We conclude that the premise of the F-ratio is supported by its biophysical assumptions, but its intended use as an LET-dependent measure of prior radiation exposure is hampered mainly by our inability to accurately assess, on a cell-by-cell basis, inversions and interstitial deletions whose small sizes are below the detection limits of conventional cytogenetic techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Chromosome aberrations
  • F-ratio
  • Inversions
  • Ionizing radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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