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The validity of a linear extrapolation to lowest fluences of charged particles demands that the transit of a single charged particle through the target volume is capable of inducing the chain of events leading to an observable end-point. This is always the case for one-hit detectors. It is not always the case for biological cells and tissues (Katz and Hofmann 1982).
By way of example, Cole ct al. (1980) found that, on average, some 500 electrons pass into the nucleus of a CHO cell for inactivation. Similarly, Warters et al. (1977) found that some 500 tritium decays in the nucleus of a CHO cell are required for observable killing.