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Nucleic Acids (DNA) Damage and Repair

Nucleic Acids

  1. Vilhelm A. Bohr

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.200300090

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Bohr, V. A. 2006. Nucleic Acids (DNA) Damage and Repair. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


All living organisms are constantly exposed to exterior agents and endogenous sources that interact with the macromolecules and cause substantive damage. This damage affects the function of all cellular macromolecules, including proteins, RNA, and DNA, and the damage accumulates over the life span of individuals. While RNA and proteins can be resynthesized, the genetic material, DNA, is the master molecule of life and it needs to be maintained intact for normal cellular functions to take place and to avoid death and disease. Thus, cellular steps have evolved to remove this damage from DNA. These processes are called DNA repair, and they involve a series of enzymatic processes that detect the damage and remove it. There are a number of DNA repair pathways and there are molecular interactions between them, and the DNA repair processes in general also connect with a number of other cellular processes. In this chapter, I will discuss the nature of the damage to the DNA and the various DNA repair processes that exist in higher cells. Examples will be given where specific protein functions are discussed in more detail, and references will be provided so that the reader can seek other sources for more detail. A lack of DNA repair capacity can lead to cancers and to a number of other specific disorders, and some of these will be discussed. In particular, there is a connection between defective DNA repair and both the incidence of cancer and the aging process.


  • Base Excision Repair;
  • DNA Damage;
  • DNA Repair;
  • Nucleotide Excision Repair