Radiation-induced bystander effects, radiation-induced adaptive responses, and radiation-induced genomic instability are indicative of a widely operating mechanism in biological systems. All these effects reflect emergent control in complex tissues and communicating cell systems that challenge current gene-dominated views in biology and that could be harnessed for therapeutic gain as well as shedding new light on problems in evolutionary biology.

To discuss the mechanisms that could underlie the observations and to design experiments to test the wider hypothesis that epigenetically driven processes contribute significantly to the response not only of individuals but also of species to environmental change.

There is recognition among many radiobiologists that the “highest tolerated dose” approach to treating cancer is flawed at the biological level. Evolutionary theory tells us that organisms adapt and select for resistance within the body. For many years this resistance has been known and studied but usually at the...

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