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Double strand breaks (DSB) are one type of DNA damage that cause a break in both strands of the DNA helix. DSBs are perhaps the most serious form of DNA damage because they pose problems for transcription, replication and chromosome segregation. DSBs differ from most other types of DNA lesions in that they affect both strands of the DNA duplex and therefore prevent the use of the complementary strand as a template for repair. Failure to repair these defects can result in chromosomal instabilities leading to deregulated gene expression and carcinogenesis. DSBs are repaired via two mechanisms: homologous recombination and non-homologous end joining, in order to reform a continuous DNA helix.


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