The ability to predict individual risk of radiation-induced normal tissue complications is a long sought goal in radiobiology. The last decade saw increasing interest in identifying associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and normal tissue complication risk. Nevertheless, it remains controversial whether SNPs will be useful predictors of normal tissue radiosensitivity. This paper provides a summary of a scientific debate held at the 31st ESTRO conference in which four scientists argued in favor or against the motion that SNPs will be useful predictors of normal tissue radiosensitivity in the future. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.