Biology and Genetics in the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VII) Report

J.E. Cleaver (University of California, San Francisco)

The BEIR VII Committee reviewed the evidence from biological and genetics studies since the 1990 BEIR V report and incorporated its assessment of that evidence into the BEIR VII risk estimates for low-dose, low-LET ionizing radiation. Numerous studies published during the past decade have provided information regarding many factors that relate to the biology of radiation-induced effects. Some of those factors include the chemical aspects of radiation interactions, the role of molecular mechanisms of DNA repair, the induction of gene mutations in somatic cells and gametes, radiation-induced genomic instability, adaptive responses, and bystander effects, just to mention a few. This paper discusses the major issues identified from the committee's review, highlights the committee's findings, and describes how the findings and conclusions impacted on the committee's risk assessment and risk model.

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