Ionizing radiation (IR) exposure is inevitable in our modern society and can lead to a variety of deleterious effects including cancer and birth defects. A reliable, reproducible and sensitive assessment of exposure to IR and the individual response to that exposure would provide much needed information for the optimal treatment of each donor examined. We have developed a diagnostic test for IR exposure based on detection of the phosphorylated form of variant histone H2AX (γ-H2AX), which occurs specifically at sites of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). The cell responds to a nascent DSB through the phosphorylation of thousands of H2AX molecules flanking the damaged site. This highly amplified response can be visualized as a γ-H2AX focus in the chromatin that can be detected in situ with the appropriate antibody. Here we assess the usability of γ-H2AX focus formation as a possible biodosimeter for human exposure to IR using peripheral blood lymphocytes irradiated ex vivo and three-dimensional artificial models of human skin biopsies. In both systems, the tissues were exposed to 0.2-5 Gy, doses of IR that might be realistically encountered in various scenarios such as cancer radiotherapies or accidental exposure to radiation. Since the γ-H2AX response is maximal 30 minutes after exposure and declines over a period of hours as the cells repair the damage, we examined the time limitations of the useful detectibility of γ-H2AX foci. We report that a linear response proportional to the initial radiation dose was obtained 48 hours and 24 hours after exposure in blood samples and skin cells respectively. Thus, detection of γ-H2AX formation to monitor DNA damage in minimally invasive blood and skin tests could be useful tools to determine radiation dose exposure and analyze its effects on humans.