Abstract: Single-strand breaks (SSBs) represent the major form of DNA damage, yet techniques to map these lesions genome-wide with nucleotide-level precision are limited. Here, we present a method, termed SSiNGLe, and demonstrate its utility to explore the distribution and dynamic changes in genome-wide SSBs in response to different biological and environmental stimuli. We validate SSiNGLe using two very distinct sequencing techniques and apply it to derive global profiles of SSBs in different biological states. Strikingly, we show that patterns of SSBs in the genome are non-random, specific to different biological states, enriched in regulatory elements, exons, introns, specific types of repeats and exhibit differential preference for the template strand between exons and introns. Furthermore, we show that breaks likely contribute to naturally occurring sequence variants. Finally, we demonstrate strong links between SSB patterns and age. Overall, SSiNGLe provides access to unexplored realms of cellular biology, not obtainable with current approaches.
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