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Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA.

Nature

Spores, Paleontology, Oxidation-Reduction, Nucleic Acid Denaturation, Mutagenesis, Molecular Sequence Data, Methylation, Hydrolysis, Humans, chemistry, DNA, pharmacology, Carcinogens, Base Sequence, Animals, genetics, Aging

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      Abstract

      Although DNA is the carrier of genetic information, it has limited chemical stability. Hydrolysis, oxidation and nonenzymatic methylation of DNA occur at significant rates in vivo, and are counteracted by specific DNA repair processes. The spontaneous decay of DNA is likely to be a major factor in mutagenesis, carcinogenesis and ageing, and also sets limits for the recovery of DNA fragments from fossils.

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      Journal
      10.1038/362709a0
      8469282

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