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

Transmission of chromosomal instability after plutonium alpha-particle irradiation.

When investigating the biological effects of ionizing radiation on the haemopoietic system, a confounding problem lies in possible differences between the biological effects of sparsely ionizing, low linear energy transfer radiation such as X-, beta- or gamma-rays, and densely ionizing, high linear energy transfer radiation such as alpha-particles. To address this problem we have developed novel techniques for studying haemopoietic cells irradiated with environmentally relevant doses of alpha-particles from a plutonium-238 source. Using a clonogenic culture system, cytogenetic aberrations in individual colonies of haemopoietic cells derived from irradiated stem cells have been studied. Exposure to alpha-particles (but not X-rays) produced a high frequency of non-clonal aberrations in the clonal descendants, compatible with alpha-emitters inducing lesions in stem cells that result in the transmission of chromosomal instability to their progeny. Such unexpected instability may have important implications for radiation leukaemogenesis.[1]


  1. Transmission of chromosomal instability after plutonium alpha-particle irradiation. Kadhim, M.A., Macdonald, D.A., Goodhead, D.T., Lorimore, S.A., Marsden, S.J., Wright, E.G. Nature (1992) [Pubmed]
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