Radiation Damage in Macromolecular Crystallography
Garman EF., Weik M.
©, Copyright Taylor & Francis. Interest in radiation damage to macromolecules during structural experiments has a long history dating back to 1962, when the first room-temperature study of the phenomenon was carried out on crystals of myoglobin , and this interest has not abated over the last few years, since there remains a need to understand both the parameters that affect radiation damage progression and also the artifacts produced by it. Although there is now a growing body of literature pertaining to this topic, clear and foolproof methods for experimenters to routinely minimize damage have yet to emerge. Additionally, radiation damage is also a concern and limiting problem in other methods used in structural biology, such as electron microscopy  and SAXS [3, 4]. However, the recently available free electron lasers (FELs) have presented the possibility and promise that samples will give “diffraction before destruction”; is this indeed the “cure” for the challenges of radiation damage?