Biological Effects Of Radiation Essay

This essay has a total of 635 words and 3 pages.

Biological Effects Of Radiation


The Biological Effects of Radiation

Whether the source of radiation is natural or man made, whether it is a small dose of
radiation or a large dose, there will be some biological effects. Radiation causes
ionizations of atoms, which will affect molecules, which may affect cells, which may
affect tissues, and so on. Although most people tend to think of biological effects in
terms of the effect of radiation on living cells, in actuality, ionizing radiation, by
definition, interacts only with atoms by a process called ionization (Chandra p. 205).
Thus, all biological damage effects begin with the consequence of radiation interactions
with the atoms forming the cells.

Even though all subsequent biological effects can be traced back to the interaction of
radiation with atoms, there are two mechanisms by which radiation ultimately affects
cells. These two mechanisms are commonly called direct and indirect effects.

If radiation interacts with the atoms of the DNA molecule, or some other cellular
component critical to the survival of the cell, it is referred to as a direct effect. Such
interaction may affect the ability of the cell to reproduce and, thus, survive. If enough
atoms are affected in such a way that the chromosomes do not replicate properly, or there
is a significant alteration in the information carried by the DNA molecule, then the cell
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