Optimality in DNA repair

Morgiane Carole Richard, Matthew Fryett, Samantha Miller, Ian Booth, Celso Grebogi, Alessandro Moura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


DNA within cells is subject to damage from various sources. Organisms have evolved a number of mechanisms to repair DNA damage. The activity of repair enzymes carries its own risk, however, because the repair of two nearby lesions may lead to the breakup of DNA and result in cell death. We propose a mathematical theory of the damage and repair process in the important scenario where lesions are caused in bursts. We use this model to show that there is an optimum level of repair enzymes within cells which optimises the cell's response to damage. This optimal level is explained as the best trade-off between fast repair and a low probability of causing double-stranded breaks. We derive our results analytically and test them using stochastic simulations, and compare our predictions with current biological knowledge. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date19 Sep 2011
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2012


  • DNA damage
  • DNA repair
  • stochastic modelling
  • nucleotide excision-repair
  • Escherichia-coli
  • mathematical-model
  • SOS response
  • damage
  • mechanisms
  • irradiation
  • radiation
  • survival


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