Transcription as a source of genome instability

Nat Rev Genet. 2012 Feb 14;13(3):204-14. doi: 10.1038/nrg3152.


Alterations in genome sequence and structure contribute to somatic disease, affect the fitness of subsequent generations and drive evolutionary processes. The crucial roles of highly accurate replication and efficient repair in maintaining overall genome integrity are well-known, but the more localized stability costs that are associated with transcribing DNA into RNA molecules are less appreciated. Here we review the diverse ways in which the essential process of transcription alters the underlying DNA template and thereby modifies the genetic landscape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication*
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA