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Possible Genetic Risks from Heat-Damaged DNA in Food



Yong Woong Jun, Melis Kant, Erdem Coskun, Pawel Jaruga, Miral M. Dizdar, Eric T. Kool


Consumption of foods prepared at high temperatures has been associated with numerous health risks. To date, the chief identified source of risk has been small molecules produced in trace levels by cooking and react with healthy DNA upon consumption. Here, we considered whether the DNA in food itself presents a hazard. We hypothesize that high-temperature cooking may cause significant damage to the DNA in food, and this damage might find its way into cellular DNA. We tested cooked and raw foods, and found high levels of hydrolytic and oxidative damage to all four DNA bases upon cooking. Ex-posing cultured cells to damaged nucleosides resulted in elevated DNA damage and repair responses in the cells. Feeding a deaminated deoxynucleoside (2′-deoxyuridine), and of DNA containing it, to mice resulted in substantial uptake into intestinal genomic DNA, and promoted double-strand chromosomal breaks there. The results suggest a previously unrecognized pathway whereby high-temperature cooking may contribute to genetic risks.
ACS Central Science


DNA damage and repair, nucleotide salvage pathway, genotoxicity, base excision repair, double strand breaks


Jun, Y. , Kant, M. , Coskun, E. , Jaruga, P. , Dizdar, M. and Kool, E. (2023), Possible Genetic Risks from Heat-Damaged DNA in Food, ACS Central Science, [online],, (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created June 1, 2023, Updated March 11, 2024