A model has emerged that accurately predicts the effect of radiation on DNA

Scientists at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute use technology

modeling and simulation for predicting radiation damage. The proposed model evaluates the damage caused by radiation to DNA and other biomolecular compounds.

In his work, described in a journal articleScientific Reports, the researchers changed the complex structure of DNA to coarse-grained. The minimum repeating chain links were presented as individual particles. Using this simplified structure, the researchers assessed the level of radiation in the spaces between the individual "grains".

Schematic representation of the simulation processfor plasmid pBR322 (a small DNA molecule). a) Image of the plasmid obtained using an electron microscope. b) Atomic model of the plasmid. c) Model created by converting an atomic model to a CG model, in which each nucleotide is represented by three kinds of large "particles" corresponding to phosphate (green), deoxyribose (yellow), and base (red). d) Simulation results. Image: Park et al., Scientific Reports

The researchers then identified each point,when such particles are damaged. The study showed that the level of radiation needed to cause damage varies even within the same DNA. As a reference, the researchers used the moment of rupture of bonds between particles. Based on the data obtained, the scientists created a "simulation code" that accurately calculated the effects of radiation.

Researchers note that existing modelsRadiation damage estimates work based on empirical data. The model proposed in the new study can be applied to different animals without prior data and even predict structural damage to amino acids and proteins.

The study showed that the error in the forecast is notexceeds 14.2%, which corresponds to existing technologies. At the same time, in addition to the rejection of preliminary data, the new model more accurately calculates the area and type of radiation damage, since it estimates the effect on individual particles.

The authors of the work believe that modelingradiation damage can be used in various fields such as the space and medical industries, in addition to nuclear power. For example, physicians using the new model will be able to predict the result of exposure in advance and prepare for possible consequences.

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