Hormetic Effects of Early Juvenile Radiation Exposure on Adult Reproduction and Offspring Performance in the Cricket (Acheta domesticus) Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation can have positive impacts on biological performance-a concept known as hormesis. Although radiation hormesis is well-documented, the predominant focus has been medical. In comparison, little research has examined potential effects of early life radiation stress on organismal investment in life history traits that closely influence evolutionary fitness (eg, patterns of growth, survival, and reproduction). Evaluating the fitness consequences of radiation stress is important, given that low-level radiation pollution from anthropogenic sources is considered a major threat to natural ecosystems. Using the cricket (Acheta domesticus), we tested a wide range of doses to assess whether a single juvenile exposure to radiation could induce hormetic benefits on lifetime fitness measures. Consistent with hormesis, we found that low-dose juvenile radiation positively impacted female fecundity, offspring size, and offspring performance. Remarkably, even a single low dose of radiation in early juvenile development can elicit a range of positive fitness effects emerging over the life span and even into the next generation.

publication date

  • July 2018