Reactive oxygen species are formed constantly in living organisms, as products of the normal metabolism, or as a result of many different environmental influences. Here we review the knowledge of formation of DNA damage, the mutations caused by reactive oxygen species and the role of the excision repair processes, that protect the organism from oxidative DNA damage. In particular, we have focused on recent studies that demonstrate the important role of nucleotide excision repair. We propose two major roles of nucleotide excision repair as 1) a backup when base excision repair of small oxidative lesions becomes saturated, and as 2) a primary repair pathway for DNA damage produced by lipid peroxidation products.
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