Sources of DNA double-strand breaks and models of recombinational DNA repair

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2014 Aug 7;6(9):a016428. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a016428.


DNA is subject to many endogenous and exogenous insults that impair DNA replication and proper chromosome segregation. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are one of the most toxic of these lesions and must be repaired to preserve chromosomal integrity. Eukaryotes are equipped with several different, but related, repair mechanisms involving homologous recombination, including single-strand annealing, gene conversion, and break-induced replication. In this review, we highlight the chief sources of DSBs and crucial requirements for each of these repair processes, as well as the methods to identify and study intermediate steps in DSB repair by homologous recombination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Cruciform / physiology
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal
  • Humans
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Recombinational DNA Repair*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


  • DNA, Cruciform