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Does radiation cause mutations
Question Date: 2007-03-12
Answer 1:

Yes, it can. As you know mutations are changes of the DNA in our cells. Radiation is a type of high-energy wave that can damage the DNA in our cells. Another student asked me about this a couple of weeks ago and I'll tell you some of what I told her. Cells that are dividing are the most likely to be hurt by radiation. Every time cells divide, their DNA has to be copied and divided equally into the new cells.

The lining of our gut is being constantly replaced. Our brain cells almost never divide. Why do you think some cells divide more than others?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Radiation of high enough energy - ultraviolet and higher - can break chemical bonds. In breaking chemical bonds of genetic material, the new bonds that form can be different from the old ones. This is a mutation.

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