Frozen aqueous solutions of DNA and nucleic acids constituents have been X-irradiated at 77°K and observed by electron spin resonance. In nearly all the sugar-containing compounds the characteristic doublet due to formyl radicals is observed along with other spectral components. It was concluded that HCO radicals arise from pentose ring breakage, which may occur even at 77°K. According to the proposed scheme, the free radicals would be induced either by direct or indirect effects.

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