Scientists from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute use modelling and simulation technology to predict radiation damage, and the proposed model assesses the damage caused by DNA radiation and other biomolecular compounds.
In their work, described in an article in Scientific Reports, researchers changed the complex structure of DNA to a large-scale one. The minimum repeat links of the chain were presented as separate particles. By means of this simplified structure, researchers evaluated the radiation levels in space between individual "grains".
The researchers then identified each point where such particles were damaged. The study showed that the radiation levels needed for damage ranged even within the same DNA. As a reference, the researchers used the point where the particles were broken. On the basis of the data, scientists created a simulation code that accurately calculated the effects of radiation.
Researchers note that existing models for estimating radiation damage are based on empirical data; the model proposed in the new study can be applied to different animals without preliminary data and even predict structural damage to amino acids and proteins.
The study showed that the error in the projection did not exceed 14.2 per cent, which was consistent with existing technologies, and that, apart from rejecting preliminary data, the new model calculated the area and type of radiation damage more accurately because it estimated the effect on individual particles.
The authors believe that radiation impact modelling can be used in various areas, such as the space and medical industries, in addition to nuclear power; for example, medical staff using the new model will be able to predict the effects of radiation exposure in advance and prepare for possible consequences.