“Ouch! That Hurts!” -DNA Damage and Repair in Sunburns
By Bethany C. Lester
We all hate sunburns. The redness, the itchiness, the pain whenever you touch something, the blisters - it’s just all over awful and no one likes it. But usually after a few days it subsides, and either goes away completely or fades to a really good tan. But how does that happen? How does your DNA respond to being burned by the sun like that? How does it fix itself? What happens if it doesn’t fix itself? All of these questions will be discussed in this paper. First, there will be an explanation of what happens when skin gets damaged by the ultraviolet rays of the sun and particularly what happens to your skin’s DNA cells. Secondly, DNA repair enzymes that help repair the lost damage to your skin and the process to get it back to normal will be examined. Last, there will be an examination of a particular disease known as Xeroderma Pigmentosum which is a disease in which the enzyme for that repairs the skin cells do not protect from ultraviolet rays and leaves your skin light sensitive. Sometimes the disease can be treated, but other times it is quite severe and the person has to live in a nocturnal state and stay away from all light, including fluorescent lighting. If not avoided, the person can be suffering severe skin damage that usually can’t be fixed and may even result in death. DNA is a truly amazing subject. It is amazing in how we are created with these enzymes and DNA that can usually fix itself on a daily basis. How skin takes care of itself in routine maintenance, how skin responds to ultraviolet rays, all of this is truly a finger-print of a bigger picture. If this is the end of your abstract, the next section begins on the next page. Abstracts are on their own page in this type of writing.
First is the process of DNA damage from ultraviolet rays. One of the primary enzymes is nucleotide excision repair (NER)....
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