[ RadSafe ] DNA can be damaged by very low-energy radiation

ROY HERREN royherren2005 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 14 02:47:40 CDT 2014

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:14-Mar-2014 Contact: Deepak Mathur
atmol1 at tifr.res.in
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research 

DNA can be damaged by very low-energy radiation
How safe are 'eye-safe' lasers?
"Very low-energy radiation also damages DNA: how safe are "eye-safe" lasers?"
Damage to DNA by high energy radiation constitutes the most lethal 
damage occurring at the cellular level. Surprisingly, very low-energy 
interactions - with OH radicals, for instance - can also induce DNA 
damage, including double strand breaks. It is known that single strand 
breaks in the DNA backbone are amenable to repair but most double strand breaks are irreparable. The propensity with which slow OH radicals 
damage DNA depends on their rotational energy: rotationally "hot" OH
is more proficient in causing double breaks. These novel findings are 
from experiments conducted on DNA in a physiological environment. 
Intense femtosecond laser pulses are propagated through water (in which 
DNA plasmids are suspended), creating plasma channels within water, 
resulting in
generation, in situ, of electrons and OH radicals. It is shown that use 
of long laser wavelength light (1350 nm and 2200 nm) ensures only 
OH-induced damage to DNA is accessed. It is noteworthy that industry 
presently characterizes as "eye-safe" lasers that emit at wavelengths 
longer than 1300 nm. 
But it is such wavelengths that are proficient at inducing damage to DNA: how safe is "eye-safe" when DNA in the eye can be readily 


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Roy Herren

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