The Evolution of Radiobiological Thought: Past History and Future Predictions

  • Carmel MothersillEmail author
  • Colin Seymour


This retrospective and prospective paper aims to trace the evolution of the major ideas in radiobiology from the earliest speculations about how the new rays worked through the discovery of radiation linked mutations and the realization that DNA could be a target, to the understanding of the relevance of indirect effects, non-targeted effects and the role of epigenetics. In the future we predict that population based effects will dominate at all hierarchical levels and that the micro- and macro environmental influences will dominate our approach to medical and environmental protection issues.


History of radiobiology Inductive reasoning Non-targeted effects Reductionism System biology 



We acknowledge continued support from the Canada Research Council Canada Research Chairs Programme, The Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the National CFIDS Foundation Inc (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Deficiency Syndrome).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation SciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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