PerspectiveMolecular Biology

A Sting in the Tail of Electron Tracks

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Science  03 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5458, pp. 1603-1604
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5458.1603

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It has always been thought that the type of DNA damage that cells find hard to repair is caused by high-energy electrons with the ability to ionize the components of DNA. In a Perspective, Michael and O'Neill discuss new findings ( Boudaïffa et al. ) showing that one low-energy electron can cause long-lasting damage to DNA by inducing a multiple lesion that may be very difficult for the cell to repair.