HELSI Bites: The breaking point for DNA: a question of balance
The breaking point for DNA: a question of balance
Our DNA is subject to continuous damage throughout our lives leading to breakages in the strands of our genetic material. It is estimated that a single cell can experience upto 1 million DNA changes per day, caused variously by exposure to environmental factors (e.g. UV radiation, smoking), or through processes related to our everyday metabolism.
Our DNA also has the ability to repair and re-seal these breakages with remarkable precision to maintain the correct balance of healthy and damaged strands. If this balance is not maintained, diseases arise that we associate with ageing such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, diseases that often co-occur and vastly diminish the quality of life for millions of older people.
I will present an overview of DNA damage and repair mechanisms, and explore how this process contributes to ageing and age-related disease at the molecular level.
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