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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 70

by Dr. M. Dizdaroglu, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland (USA)

DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen-derived species is the most frequent type encountered by aerobic cells. This type of DNA damage is also called oxidative DNA damage and has been implicated in mutagenesis, carcinogenesis and aging. In cells, there are repair systems that oppose DNA damage. If not repaired, DNA damage may lead to detrimental biological consequences. Therefore, the repair of DNA damage is regarded as one of the essential events in all life forms. In recent years, the field of DNA repair flourished due to new findings on DNA repair mechanisms and the molecular basis of cancer. In 1994, DNA repair enzymes have been named Science magazine's Molecule of the Year.

The time was ripe to convene a NATO Advanced Study Institute (ASI) of scientists of international standing from the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, enzymology, biomedical science and radiation biology to present and discuss the basics and new developments in the field of DNA damage and repair. The NATO ASI on "DNA Damage and Repair Oxygen Radical Effects, Cellular Protection and Biological Consequences" was held from October 14-24, 1997 in Tekirova, Antalya (Turkey). During the meeting, invited lecturers presented and discussed the state-of-the-art knowledge and recent developments in this research field, and its pertinence to human health. Concomitantly, other participants presented their work in several oral and poster sessions. The interactions between the participants were synergistic and challenging, and contributed greatly to dissemination of scientific knowledge and the formation of international scientific collaboration.

The resulting book "Advances in DNA Damage and Repair" (NATO ASI SERIES A302) contains the papers presented by invited lecturers and the abstracts of the posters presented by the student participants during this international conference. A wide range of topics related to DNA damage and repair is covered by world renowned experts in thirty-five chapters. Mechanistic aspects of oxidative DNA damage is discussed in several articles that also include discussions of techniques for measurement of DNA damage. Mechanisms of action of a number of DNA repair enzymes are presented in various chapters. These topics include excision repair in eukaryotes, roles of AP endonucleases in repair, genetic stability and aging, actions of DNA glycosylases, bypass of DNA damage by RNA polymerases, nucleotide excision repair in yeast, transcription-coupled DNA repair, DNA repair in premature aging syndromes. DNA damage by nitrogen-derived species, and actions of antioxidants against oxidative stress and oxidative DNA damage are discussed by a number of authors. Several chapters are devoted to the repair of individual lesions of oxidative DNA damage and to enzymes involved in their processing. Biological consequences of these lesions are also discussed in detail. Furthermore, several chapters discuss ionizing radiation-induced damage to DNA including mechanistic aspects , modification of this type of damage and its challenge to repair systems. Other chapters include implications of superoxide and nitric oxide interactions in DNA damage and repair, mapping of DNA damage at nucleotide resolution, genotoxicity tests and measurement of DNA repair products in biological fluids. There are more than eighty abstracts in the book presented by student participants at this meeting. These discuss many aspects of DNA damage and repair, mutagenesis, antioxidants among others.

This book is a comprehensive collection of basic knowledge and recent developments in the field of DNA damage and repair, written by many experts, who are well known and respected in their fields of research. It will be of great interest to many scientists and clinicians wishing to learn more about this rapidly growing area of research. It will also be a useful reference book for students and other young scientists, who wish to enter this field of science.
Reference books: A124, A182, A302, H54

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