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Int J Radiat Biol. 2001 Oct;77(10):995-1005.

Telomeric sequences, radiation sensitivity and genomic instability.

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Radiation Effects Department, National Radiological Protection Board, Chilton, Didcot, OX11 ORQ, UK.



To review the basic features of telomeres with particular emphasis on their potential importance in radiation biology. Recent findings suggest that telomere length can influence radiation sensitivity in mouse and that several human radiosensitive disorders also show abnormalities in telomere dynamics. Numerous studies indicate that telomeric sequences may play a role in determining the stability of certain genomic regions both spontaneously and following irradiation. Furthermore, a number of transmissible genomic instability systems have been described in which it appears that telomere metabolism may be contributing to the delayed effects observed. Features of telomeres and telomere biology relevant to these topics are reviewed.


The evidence that telomeres and the molecular pathways of telomere maintenance can play a role in determining the outcome of radiation exposure is now substantial. Thus, the field of telomere biology deserves continued attention from radiobiologists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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