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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®


Reviewed April 2015

What is the official name of the RAD51 gene?

The official name of this gene is “RAD51 recombinase.”

RAD51 is the gene's official symbol. The RAD51 gene is also known by other names, listed below.

What is the normal function of the RAD51 gene?

The RAD51 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is essential for repairing damaged DNA. Breaks in DNA can be caused by natural and medical radiation or other environmental exposures, and also occur when chromosomes exchange genetic material in preparation for cell division. The RAD51 protein binds to the DNA at the site of a break and encases it in a protein sheath, which is an essential first step in the repair process.

In the nucleus of many types of normal cells, the RAD51 protein interacts with many other proteins, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, to fix damaged DNA. The BRCA2 protein regulates the activity of the RAD51 protein by transporting it to sites of DNA damage in the nucleus. The interaction between the BRCA1 protein and the RAD51 protein is less clear, although research suggests that BRCA1 may also activate RAD51 in response to DNA damage. By helping repair DNA, these three proteins play a role in maintaining the stability of a cell's genetic information.

The RAD51 protein is also thought to be involved in the development of nervous system functions that control movement, but its role in this development is unclear.

How are changes in the RAD51 gene related to health conditions?

congenital mirror movement disorder - caused by mutations in the RAD51 gene

At least four RAD51 gene mutations have been identified in people with congenital mirror movement disorder, a condition in which intentional movements of one side of the body are mirrored by involuntary movements of the other side. These mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the RAD51 protein sequence, or introduce a premature stop signal in the instructions for making the protein, resulting in an impaired or missing protein. It is unknown how this shortage of functional RAD51 protein affects nervous system development and results in the signs and symptoms of congenital mirror movement disorder.

Where is the RAD51 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 15q15.1

Molecular Location on chromosome 15: base pairs 40,694,773 to 40,732,157

The RAD51 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 15 at position 15.1.

The RAD51 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 15 at position 15.1.

More precisely, the RAD51 gene is located from base pair 40,694,773 to base pair 40,732,157 on chromosome 15.

See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? ( in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about RAD51?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about RAD51 helpful.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for the RAD51 gene or gene products?

  • BRCC5
  • DNA repair protein RAD51 homolog 1
  • HRAD51
  • HsRAD51
  • RAD51A
  • RAD51 homolog (RecA homolog, E. coli) (S. cerevisiae)
  • RAD51 homolog (S. cerevisiae)
  • RECA
  • RecA, E. coli, homolog of
  • RecA-like protein
  • recombination protein A

See How are genetic conditions and genes named? ( in the Handbook.

What glossary definitions help with understanding RAD51?

acids ; cancer ; cell ; cell division ; congenital ; DNA ; DNA damage ; DNA repair ; E. coli ; gene ; involuntary ; nervous system ; nucleus ; protein ; protein sequence ; radiation ; recombinase

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.


  • Cousineau I, Abaji C, Belmaaza A. BRCA1 regulates RAD51 function in response to DNA damage and suppresses spontaneous sister chromatid replication slippage: implications for sister chromatid cohesion, genome stability, and carcinogenesis. Cancer Res. 2005 Dec 15;65(24):11384-91. (
  • Depienne C, Bouteiller D, Méneret A, Billot S, Groppa S, Klebe S, Charbonnier-Beaupel F, Corvol JC, Saraiva JP, Brueggemann N, Bhatia K, Cincotta M, Brochard V, Flamand-Roze C, Carpentier W, Meunier S, Marie Y, Gaussen M, Stevanin G, Wehrle R, Vidailhet M, Klein C, Dusart I, Brice A, Roze E. RAD51 haploinsufficiency causes congenital mirror movements in humans. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Feb 10;90(2):301-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.12.002. Epub 2012 Feb 2. (
  • Franz EA, Chiaroni-Clarke R, Woodrow S, Glendining KA, Jasoni CL, Robertson SP, Gardner RJ, Markie D. Congenital mirror movements: phenotypes associated with DCC and RAD51 mutations. J Neurol Sci. 2015 Apr 15;351(1-2):140-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Mar 10. (
  • Gallea C, Popa T, Hubsch C, Valabregue R, Brochard V, Kundu P, Schmitt B, Bardinet E, Bertasi E, Flamand-Roze C, Alexandre N, Delmaire C, Méneret A, Depienne C, Poupon C, Hertz-Pannier L, Cincotta M, Vidailhet M, Lehericy S, Meunier S, Roze E. RAD51 deficiency disrupts the corticospinal lateralization of motor control. Brain. 2013 Nov;136(Pt 11):3333-46. doi: 10.1093/brain/awt258. Epub 2013 Sep 20. (
  • Gene Review: Congenital Mirror Movements (
  • Kawabata M, Kawabata T, Nishibori M. Role of recA/RAD51 family proteins in mammals. Acta Med Okayama. 2005 Feb;59(1):1-9. Review. (
  • Klar AJ. Selective chromatid segregation mechanism invoked for the human congenital mirror hand movement disorder development by RAD51 mutations: a hypothesis. Int J Biol Sci. 2014 Sep 10;10(9):1018-23. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.9886. eCollection 2014. Review. (
  • Méneret A, Depienne C, Riant F, Trouillard O, Bouteiller D, Cincotta M, Bitoun P, Wickert J, Lagroua I, Westenberger A, Borgheresi A, Doummar D, Romano M, Rossi S, Defebvre L, De Meirleir L, Espay AJ, Fiori S, Klebe S, Quélin C, Rudnik-Schöneborn S, Plessis G, Dale RC, Sklower Brooks S, Dziezyc K, Pollak P, Golmard JL, Vidailhet M, Brice A, Roze E. Congenital mirror movements: mutational analysis of RAD51 and DCC in 26 cases. Neurology. 2014 Jun 3;82(22):1999-2002. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000477. Epub 2014 May 7. (
  • NCBI Gene (
  • Pellegrini L, Yu DS, Lo T, Anand S, Lee M, Blundell TL, Venkitaraman AR. Insights into DNA recombination from the structure of a RAD51-BRCA2 complex. Nature. 2002 Nov 21;420(6913):287-93. Epub 2002 Nov 10. (
  • Peng J, Charron F. Lateralization of motor control in the human nervous system: genetics of mirror movements. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):109-18. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.08.007. Epub 2012 Sep 16. Review. (


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Reviewed: April 2015
Published: October 5, 2015