The purpose of the present research is to examine whether human hair root cells can be used for dose assessment after in vitro exposure to ionizing radiation. Hair root samples plucked from random head regions were collected from 5 healthy human subjects. Some of these hair samples were used as control and some were irradiated with 0.5-5 Gy of gamma ray using a Cs-137 gamma irradiator at a dose rate of 0.14 Gy/s. DNA damage (single-strand breaks) was determined in hair root cells of these samples using the comet assay technique. The comet assay parameters, tail length (TL) and tail moment (TM), showed a significant increase (p < .05) in single-strand DNA breaks in hair roots cells of the exposed samples compared to control. A linear dose-effect relationship was observed when tail moment or tail length was plotted against the log of the radiation dose. This research suggests a possible use of human hair root cell DNA damage as a biomarker especially for low dose radiation. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.