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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutagenesis and repair by low doses of alpha radiation in mammalian cells.

Low doses of alpha radiation in basements have been causally implicated in lung cancer. Previous studies have concentrated on high dose effects, for which no significant repair was found. In the present study, the methodology for measuring mutation by quantitating mitotic breaks and gaps was found to be applicable to G2-phase Chinese hamster ovary cells irradiated with 10-50 cGy of alpha radiation. The mutation yield in such cells closely resembles that of gamma irradiation. Caffeine, which inhibits repair, produces the same straight line increase of alpha and gamma mutation yields plotted against the dose. In the absence of caffeine, the repair of alpha radiation lesions is almost twice as great as for gamma radiation. Mitotic index changes substantiate these interpretations. It is proposed that the higher ion density associated with alpha radiation may result in fewer lesions being missed by the repair processes. The quantitation of chromosomal lesions for G2 cells exposed to low doses of alpha radiation, gamma radiation, or chemical mutagens in the presence and absence of caffeine is a rapid and reproducible methodology. Protection from mutational disease in a fashion similar to the use of sanitation for infectious disease appears practical.[1]


  1. Mutagenesis and repair by low doses of alpha radiation in mammalian cells. Puck, T.T., Johnson, R., Webb, P., Cui, H., Valdez, J.G., Crissman, H. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2002) [Pubmed]
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