DNA double-strand breaks as drivers of neural genomic change, function, and disease

DNA Repair (Amst). 2018 Nov;71:158-163. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2018.08.019. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Early work from about two decades ago implicated DNA double-strand break (DSB) formation and repair in neuronal development. Findings emerging from recent studies of DSBs in proliferating neural progenitors and in mature, non-dividing neurons suggest important roles of DSBs in brain physiology, aging, cancer, psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. We provide an overview of some findings and speculate on what may lie ahead.

Keywords: Copy number variations; DNA double-strand breaks; DNA repair; DNA replication; Exon shuffling; Genomic instability; Neural stem and progenitor cells; Neurodevelopment; Neurons; Non-homologous end joining; Somatic mosaicism; Transcription.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Repair*
  • Genome
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology
  • Neurogenesis*


  • DNA