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The World in Medicine
June 10, 1998

Detecting Radiation Damage

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JAMA. 1998;279(22):1771. doi:10.1001/jama.279.22.1771-JWM80003-5-1

A collaboration between Canadian and US researchers has produced an extremely sensitive method for detecting genetic damage caused by ionizing radiation and carcinogenic chemicals.

The new technique uses antibodies that recognize specific forms of DNA damage. Those antibodies then are joined with others that emit fluorescent light and also attach to damaged areas of DNA. When mixed, the antibodies and DNA undergo capillary electrophoresis in which the sample is illuminated and the resulting fluorescence is monitored. The higher the light intensity, the more DNA damage there is.