Radiation research has its foundation on the target and hit theories, which assume that the initial stochastic deposition of energy on a sensitive target in a cell determines the final biological outcome. This assumption is rather static in nature but forms the foundation of the linear no-threshold (LNT) model of radiation carcinogenesis. The stochastic treatment of radiation carcinogenesis by the LNT model enables easy calculation of radiation risk, and this has made the LNT model an indispensable tool for radiation protection. However, the LNT model sometimes fails to explain some of the biological and epidemiological data, and this suggests the need for insight into the mechanisms of radiation carcinogenesis. Recent studies have identified unique characteristics of the tissue stem cells and their roles in tissue turnover. In the present report, some important issues of radiation protection such as the risk of low-dose-rate exposures and in utero exposures are discussed in light of the recent advances of stem cell biology.

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