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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1346521, 7 pages
Research Article

A Genomic Study of DNA Alteration Events Caused by Ionizing Radiation in Human Embryonic Stem Cells via Next-Generation Sequencing

Nuclear Medicine Division, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 7 April 2015; Revised 29 May 2015; Accepted 2 June 2015

Academic Editor: Siwanon Jirawatnotai

Copyright © 2016 Van Nguyen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ionizing radiation (IR) is a known mutagen that is widely employed for medical diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. To study the extent of genetic variations in DNA caused by IR, we used IR-sensitive human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Four hESC cell lines, H1, H7, H9, and H14, were subjected to IR at 0.2 or 1 Gy dose and then maintained in culture for four days before being harvested for DNA isolation. Irradiation with 1 Gy dose resulted in significant cell death, ranging from 60% to 90% reduction in cell population. Since IR is often implicated as a risk for inducing cancer, a primer pool targeting genomic “hotspot” regions that are frequently mutated in human cancer genes was used to generate libraries from irradiated and control samples. Using a semiconductor-based next-generation sequencing approach, we were able to consistently sequence these samples with deep coverage for reliable data analysis. A possible rare nucleotide variant was identified in the KIT gene (chr4:55593481) exclusively in H1 hESCs irradiated with 1 Gy dose. More extensive further studies are warranted to assess the extent and distribution of genetic changes in hESCs after IR exposure.