DNA double-strand break repair in Caenorhabditis elegans

Chromosoma. 2011 Feb;120(1):1-21. doi: 10.1007/s00412-010-0296-3. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Faithful repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is vital for animal development, as inappropriate repair can cause gross chromosomal alterations that result in cellular dysfunction, ultimately leading to cancer, or cell death. Correct processing of DSBs is not only essential for maintaining genomic integrity, but is also required in developmental programs, such as gametogenesis, in which DSBs are deliberately generated. Accordingly, DSB repair deficiencies are associated with various developmental disorders including cancer predisposition and infertility. To avoid this threat, cells are equipped with an elaborate and evolutionarily well-conserved network of DSB repair pathways. In recent years, Caenorhabditis elegans has become a successful model system in which to study DSB repair, leading to important insights in this process during animal development. This review will discuss the major contributions and recent progress in the C. elegans field to elucidate the complex networks involved in DSB repair, the impact of which extends well beyond the nematode phylum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / genetics
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular*


  • DNA, Single-Stranded