AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

How DNA damaged from radiation causes cancer

In a recent study, professors from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute sought to see the similarity between spontaneous cancerous tumors and cancer caused by ionized radiation. By looking at the molecular fingerprint of different types of cancers, they were able to differentiate between cancers that formed by radiation and cancers that were not formed by radiation.

In the study, they studied the mutational signatures of the DNA. Mutational signatures are just ways in which the DNA is affected by cancerous mutations. They studied the DNA mutational signatures from DNA exposed to radiation, but not necessarily cancerous, and the mutational signatures of the DNA of cancerous cells of which some were caused by radiation exposure and some were not. Both included the same signatures.

The two mutational signatures that were observed were deletion of segments of DNA bases and balanced inversion, where the DNA is cut in two places, the middle piece flips around, and the pieces are joined back in the opposite orientation from before the flip. High energy radiation is the cause for balanced inversion, since it does not happen naturally in the body. After the mutation, the DNA cannot repair itself.

This gives us a better understanding of cancer and how ionized radiation affects DNA and produces these mutational signatures. Knowing this information, this helps us recognize which tumors are caused by radiation. Once we have a better understanding of this, it will prove important for determining how each cancer should be treated. But for now, this is a strong step forward in the battle against cancer and every step of the way is crucial if we are to be victorious.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Predetermined diagnosis of PTSD and Depression can lead to prevention of psychological disorders


Gosh…You’re Such a Caveperson!

1 Comment

  1. chromison

    Fascinating article Smoothxander. Studying the links between radiation and cancer is something that is incredibly interesting and crucial to our medical advancement as a society. I would be interested to see if there were any major examples throughout history of major cancer outbreaks being inextricably linked to radiation, a la Chernobyl, Nagasaki etc. Take a look at this article I found going into further detail on the subject.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Skip to toolbar