Most chromosome aberrations produced by ionizing radiation develop from DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Published data on the yield and variance of excess acentric fragments after in vitro irradiation of human lymphocytes were compared with corresponding data on dicentrics. At low LET the number of excess acentric fragments is about 60% of the number of dicentrics, independent of dose and perhaps of dose rate, suggesting that dicentrics and excess acentric fragments arise from similar kinetics rather than from fundamentally different reactions. Only a weak dependence of the ratio on LET is observed. These results are quantified using generalizations of models for pairwise DSB interactions suggested by Brewen and Brock based on data for marsupial cells. By allowing singly incomplete and some "doubly incomplete" exchanges, the models can also account for the experimental observation that the dispersion for excess acentric fragments, a measure of cell-to-cell variance, is systematically larger than the dispersion for dicentrics. Numerical estimates of an incompleteness parameter are derived.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.