DNA Damage and Repair

DNA is known to be a highly stable and versatile molecule. Though sometimes some damages are caused to it, it is able to maintain the integrity of the information which is contained in it. The safeguard of genetic material from generation to generation depends upon keeping the rates of mutation at a very low level. DNA has many elaborate and efficient mechanisms to repair any damage or distortion. The most frequent sources of damage to DNA are the erroneousness in DNA replication and chemical changes in DNA. Malfunction and regulations of the process of replication can lead to incorporation of wrong bases, which are mismatched with the complementary strand. The damage causing chemicals break the backbone of the strand and lead to chemically alter the bases. Alkylation, oxidation and methylation cause damage to bases. X-rays and gamma radiations also cause single or double-stranded breaks in DNA.

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