Genome reduction in a hemiclonal frog Rana esculenta from radioactively contaminated areas.
A decrease in genome size was found in the hemiclonal hybridogenetic frog Rana esculenta (R. ridibunda x R. lessonae) from areas of radioactive contamination that resulted from the Chernobyl fallout. This genome reduction was of up to 4% and correlated with the background level of gamma-radiation (linear regression corresponded on average to -0.4% per doubling of radiation level). No change in genome size was observed in the coexisting parental species R. lessonae. There was no correlation between genome size and body mass in R. esculenta froglets, which have metamorphosed in the year of the study. The hemiclonal forms may become a suitable object for study on biological significance of individual DNA sequences (and of genome size as a whole) because mutant animals with deletions in a specified genome can arise after a low radiation dose. The proneness to genetic damage makes such forms also a prospective bioindicator of radioactive (and possibly other mutagenic) pollution with the effects of genetic damage conveniently and rapidly monitored by DNA flow cytometry. (+info)
Cancer in children of nuclear industry employees: report on children aged under 25 years from nuclear industry family study.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether children of men and women occupationally exposed to ionising radiation are at increased risk of developing leukaemia or other cancers before their 25th birthday. DESIGN: Cohort study of children of nuclear industry employees. SETTING: Nuclear establishments operated by the Atomic Energy Authority, Atomic Weapons Establishment, and British Nuclear Fuels. SUBJECTS: 39 557 children of male employees and 8883 children of female employees. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cancer incidence in offspring reported by parents. Employment and radiation monitoring data (including annual external dose) supplied by the nuclear authorities. RESULTS: 111 cancers were reported, of which 28 were leukaemia. The estimated standardised incidence ratios for children of male and female employees who were born in 1965 or later were 98 (95% confidence interval 73 to 129) and 96 (50 to 168) for all malignancies and 109 (61 to 180) and 95 (20 to 277) for leukaemia. The leukaemia rate in children whose fathers had accumulated a preconceptual dose of >/=100 mSv was 5.8 times that in children conceived before their fathers' employment in the nuclear industry (95% confidence interval 1.3 to 24.8) but this was based on only three exposed cases. Two of these cases were included in the west Cumbrian ("Gardner") case-control study. No significant trends were found between increasing dose and leukaemia. CONCLUSIONS: Cancer in young people is rare, and our results are based on small numbers of events. Overall, the findings suggest that the incidence of cancer and leukaemia among children of nuclear industry employees is similar to that in the general population. The possibility that exposure of fathers to relatively high doses of ionising radiation before their child's conception might be related to an increased risk of leukaemia in their offspring could not be disproved, but this result was based on only three cases, two of which have been previously reported. High conceptual doses are rare, and even if the occupational association were causal, the number of leukaemias involved would be small; in this study of over 46 000 children, fewer than three leukaemias could potentially be attributed to such an exposure. (+info)
Specific p53 gene mutations in urinary bladder epithelium after the Chernobyl accident.
After the Chernobyl accident, the incidence of urinary bladder cancers in the Ukraine population increased gradually from 26.2 to 36.1 per 100,000 between 1986 and 1996. Urinary bladder epithelium biopsied from 45 male patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia living in radiocontaminated areas of Ukraine demonstrated frequent severe urothelial dysplasia, carcinoma in situ, and a single invasive transitional cell carcinoma, combined with irradiation cystitis in 42 cases (93%). No neoplastic changes (carcinoma in situ or transitional cell carcinoma) were found in 10 patients from clean areas (areas without radiocontamination). DNA was extracted from the altered urothelium of selected paraffin-embedded specimens that showed obviously abnormal histology (3 cases) or intense p53 immunoreactivity (15 cases), and mutational analysis of exons 5-8 of the p53 gene was performed by PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis followed by DNA sequencing. Nine of 17 patients (53%) had one or more mutations in the altered urothelium. Urine sediment samples were also collected from the patients at 4-27 months after biopsy and analyzed by PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis or yeast functional assay, and identical or additional p53 mutations were found in four of five cases. Interestingly, a relative hot spot at codon 245 was found in five of nine (56%) cases with mutations, and 11 of the 13 mutations determined (73%) were G:C to A:T transitions at CpG dinucleotides, reported to be relatively infrequent (approximately 18%) in human urinary bladder cancers. Therefore, the frequent and specific p53 mutations found in these male patients may alert us to a future elevated occurrence of urinary bladder cancers in the radiocontaminated areas. (+info)
Leukemia, lymphomas, and myeloma mortality in the vicinity of nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel facilities in Spain.
Mortality due to hematological tumors in towns near Spain's seven nuclear power plants and five nuclear fuel facilities during the period 1975-1993 was ascertained. The study was based on 610 leukemia-, 198 lymphoma-, and 122 myeloma-induced deaths in 489 towns situated within a 30-km radius of such installations. As control areas, we used 477 towns lying within a 50- to 100-km radius of each installation, matched by population size and a series of sociodemographic characteristics (income level, proportion of active population engaged in farming, proportion of unemployed, percentage of illiteracy, and province). Relative risk (RR) for each area and the trends in risk with increasing proximity to an installation were analyzed using log-linear models. None of the nuclear power plants registered an excess risk of leukemia-induced mortality in any of the surrounding areas. Excess risk of leukemia mortality was, however, observed in the vicinity of the uranium-processing facilities in Andujar [RR, 1.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.64] and Ciudad Rodrigo (RR, 1.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.92-3.08). Excess risk of multiplemyeloma mortality was found in the area surrounding the Zorita nuclear power plant. Statistical testing revealed that, with the single exception of multiple myeloma, none of the tumors studied showed evidence of a rise in risk with proximity to an installation. No study area yielded evidence of a raised risk of leukemia mortality among persons under the age of 25 years. More specific studies are called for in areas near installations that have been fully operational for longer periods. In this connection, stress should be laid on the importance of using dosimetric information in all future studies. (+info)
Dose estimations of fast neutrons from a nuclear reactor by micronuclear yields in onion seedlings.
Irradiations of onion seedlings with fission neutrons from bare, Pb-moderated, and Fe-moderated 252Cf sources induced micronuclei in the root-tip cells at similar rates. The rate per cGy averaged for the three sources, , was 19 times higher than rate induced by 60Co gamma-rays. When neutron doses, Dn, were estimated from frequencies of micronuclei induced in onion seedlings after exposure to neutron-gamma mixed radiation from a 1 W nuclear reactor, using the reciprocal of as conversion factor, resulting Dn values agreed within 10% with doses measured with paired ionizing chambers. This excellent agreement was achieved by the high sensitivity of the onion system to fast neutrons relative to gamma-rays and the high contribution of fast neutrons to the total dose of mixed radiation in the reactor's field. (+info)
Male infertility risk factors in a French military population.
We investigated infertility risk factors by conducting a population-based case-control study in the military population of the French town of Brest. Sixty couples who had sought medical advice for infertility of more than 12 months duration (cases) were compared with 165 couples who had had a child (controls). All the men in these couples had been employed by the military. The infertility risk factors studied were male and female medical factors, occupational and environmental exposures. We obtained age-adjusted odds ratios of 7.4 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.4--39.5] for testis surgery, and 13.0 for varicocele (95% CI: 1.4--120.3) in men. In logistic regression, the age-adjusted odds ratio for men who had worked in a nuclear submarine was found to be 2.0 (95% CI: 1.0--3.7), and that for heat exposure was 4.5 (95% CI: 1.9--10.6). One limitation of this study is the lack of exposure measurements, especially for potential exposure to nuclear radiation (type of reactor used in nuclear-powered submarines, inability to obtain personal dosimeters worn by military personnel working in nuclear submarines). In conclusion, this study suggests that in this military population, having worked as a submariner in a nuclear-powered submarine, and having worked in very hot conditions, should be considered as risk factors for infertility. (+info)
Population mixing and leukaemia in young people around the La Hague nuclear waste reprocessing plant.
In order to investigate for an association between population mixing and the occurrence of leukaemia in young people (less than 25 years), a geographical study was conducted, for the years 1979 to 1998, in Nord Cotentin (France). This area experienced between the years 1978 and 1992 a major influx of workers for the construction of a nuclear power station and a new nuclear waste reprocessing unit. A population mixing index was defined on the basis of the number of workers born outside the French department of 'La Manche' and living in each 'commune', the basic geographical unit under study. The analyses were done with indirect standardisation and Poisson regression model allowing or not for extra-Poisson variation. Urban 'communes' were considered as the reference population. The Incidence Rate Ratio was 2.7 in rural 'communes' belonging to the highest tertile of population mixing (95% Bayesian credible interval, 95%BCI=1.2-5.9). A positive trend was observed among rural strata with increasing population mixing index (IRR for trend=1.4, 95%BCI=1.1-1.8). The risk became stronger for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in children 1-6 years old in the highest tertile of population mixing (IRR=5.5, 95%BCI=1.4-23.3). These findings provide further support for a possible infective basis of childhood leukaemia. (+info)
Dosimetry of fission neutrons in a 1-W reactor, UTR-KINKI.
The energy spectrum of fission neutrons in the biological irradiation field of the Kinki University reactor, UTR-KINKI, has been determined by a multi-foil activation analysis coupled with artificial neural network techniques and a Au-foil activation method. The mean neutron energy was estimated to be 1.26 +/- 0.05 MeV from the experimentally determined spectrum. Based on this energy value and other information, the neutron dose rate was estimated to be 19.7 +/- 1.4 cGy/hr. Since this dose rate agrees with that measured by a pair of ionizing chambers (21.4 cGy/hr), we conclude that the mean neutron energy could be estimated with reasonable accuracy in the irradiation field of UTR-KINKI. (+info)