New Insights on Free Radicals

IISER Mohali
IISER Mohali

Free radicals or Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which are often thought to harm the body has been found to have benefits to the body.


  • Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, found that Free Radicals play a key role in regulating the growth and the size of the organisms.
  • Free radicals are hyper-reactive molecules that are thought to be harmful to the body and are implicated for the occurrence of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and many more.
  • These particles react with the cells and damage them.
  • Often these are removed from the body with the help of antioxidants.
  • But, scientists from IISER has found that they play a role in modulating the systemic growth of the organism.
  • The study by the scientists is significant as it throws light on various activities of the body in the early stage of development.
  • For the study, the scientists used fruit flies.
  • Insulin is the growth hormone that plays a vital role during the development phase of an organism.
  • Whereas, the Ecdysone hormone regulates the growth.
  • There needs to be a stable relationship between Insulin and Ecdysone for controlled growth of an organism and scientists have found that Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) does this job with perfection.

Formation of Free Radicals:

  • Our body constantly faces oxidative stress.
  • Thus, Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons.
  • Electrons cannot be unpaired for long and they seek to pair with another electron.
  • They start scavenging the body for electrons and damage the cells, DNA and proteins.
  • These are thus known as free radicals.

Also Read:


  • These inhibit free radicals.
  • They terminate the chain reactions that are formed by the free radicals.
  • Vitamin C and Vitamin E are some of the examples of free radicals.
  • Antioxidants reduce the risk of the formation of cancer and other cardiovascular diseases.
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