Genome sequence cannot predict radiation resistance, say researchers

For the last two decades, researchers worldwide have been using whole genome sequencing to understand what makes cells radiation-resistant, hoping to solve an old biological mystery: why is it that one of the most radiation-resistant organisms, Deinococcus radiodurans, aka “Conan the bacterium,” can survive hundreds of times more DNA damage caused by gamma rays than most other organisms? According to a study published recently in Standards of Genomic Sciences by researchers at the Uniformed Services University (USU), the amount of radiation a Deinococcus cell can survive in fact has little to do with the number and types of its DNA repair proteins.

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