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DNA Repair (Amst). 2006 Sep 8;5(9-10):1075-81. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

DNA double-strand break repair and chromosome translocations.

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Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, Erasmus MC, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Translocations are genetic aberrations that occur when a broken fragment of a chromosome is erroneously rejoined to another chromosome. The initial event in the creation of a translocation is the formation of a DNA double-strand break (DSB), which can be induced both under physiological situations, such as during the development of the immune system, or by exogenous DNA damaging agents. Two major repair pathways exist in cells that repair DSBs as they arise, namely homologous recombination, and non-homologous end-joining. In some situations these pathways can function inappropriately and rejoin ends incorrectly to produce genomic rearrangements, including translocations. Translocations have been implicated in cancer because of their ability to activate oncogenes. Due to selection at the level of the DNA, the cell, and the tissue certain forms of cancer are associated with specific translocations that can be used as a tool for diagnosis and prognosis of these cancers.

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