Break-induced DNA replication

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Dec 1;5(12):a010397. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a010397.


Recombination-dependent DNA replication, often called break-induced replication (BIR), was initially invoked to explain recombination events in bacteriophage but it has recently been recognized as a fundamentally important mechanism to repair double-strand chromosome breaks in eukaryotes. This mechanism appears to be critically important in the restarting of stalled and broken replication forks and in maintaining the integrity of eroded telomeres. Although BIR helps preserve genome integrity during replication, it also promotes genome instability by the production of loss of heterozygosity and the formation of nonreciprocal translocations, as well as in the generation of complex chromosomal rearrangements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Bacteriophages / metabolism
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Fungal / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Genomic Instability
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Translocation, Genetic
  • Yeasts / genetics*
  • Yeasts / metabolism


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Fungal