Existing evidence in favor of a biological effect of elastic nuclear collisions (inactivation of RNase) is examined. A general scheme is outlined for extraction of inactivation cross sections from thick-target measurements. The importance of ion reflection from the backing material in thin-target measurements is pointed out. Experimental inactivation yields are examined together with estimated energy-loss curves for hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen bombardment at energies in the 0.1-10-keV range. It is concluded, with some precautions with regard to experimental accuracy, that neither hydrogen nor helium bombardments present compelling evidence for a significant inactivation effect of elastic nuclear collisions. Results for nitrogen bombardment are ambiguous because of very high density of both elastic and electronic energy deposition.

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