Can cells repair the damage?

Whether or not the cell can repair itself depends on the type of damage to the DNA.

Type of Damage

Prospects for DNA Repair

Single strand break in the DNACan usually be repaired and normal cell function restored
Breaks in both DNA strandsUsually damage is to severe for repair. The cell dies.
Chemical change or mutationCannot be repaired. Cancer may result or a mutated offspring if this occurs in a sperm or egg cell
*Cells (such as those contained in the skin, eyes and blood-forming organs (BFO)) that reproduce rapidly are the most susceptible to damage because they cannot repair themselves easily while replicating. Acceptable radiation doses are usually given separately for these organs.

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