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DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly toxic lesions that can lead to chromosomal instability if they are not repaired correctly. DSBs are especially dangerous in mitosis when cells go through the complex process of equal chromosome segregation into daughter cells. When cells encounter DSBs in interphase, they are able to arrest the cell cycle until the breaks are repaired before entering mitosis. However, when DSBs occur during mitosis, cells no longer arrest but prioritize completion of cell division over repair of DNA damage. This review focuses on recent progress in our understanding of the mechanisms that allow mitotic cells to postpone DSB repair without accumulating massive chromosomal instability. Additionally, we review possible physiological consequences of failed DSB responses in mitosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Biochem Sci

Publication Date



DNA double-strand breaks, cell-cycle checkpoints, chromosomal instability, chromothripsis, micronuclei, mitosis