One-Decade-Spanning transgenerational effects of historic radiation dose in wild populations of bank voles exposed to radioactive contamination following the chernobyl nuclear disaster Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The concept of historic radiation doses associated with accidental radioactive releases and their role in leading to radiation-induced non-targeted effects on affected wild animals are currently being evaluated. Previous research studying Fukushima butterfly, Chernobyl bird and fruit fly populations shows that the effects are transgenerational, underlined by the principles of genomic instability, and varied from one species to another. To further expand on the responses of and their sensitivity in different taxonomically distinct groups, the present study sought to reconstruct historic radiation doses and delineate their effects on bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) found within a 400-km radius of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown site. Historic dose reconstruction from the whole-body dose rates for the bank vole samples for their parental generation at the time of radioactive release was performed. Relationships between the historic doses and cytogenetic aberrations and embryonic lethality were examined via graphical presentations. Results suggest that genomic instability develops at the historic dose range of 20-51 mGy while a radioadaptive response develops at the historic dose range of 51-356 mGy. The Linear No-Threshold (LNT) relationship was absent at historic doses of lower than 356 mGy at all generations. However, LNT was apparent when the very high historic dose of 10.28 Gy in one sampling year was factored into the dose response curve for the bank vole generation 21-22. It is worth being reminded that natural mutation accumulation and other environmental stressors outside the realm of dose effects could contribute to the observed effects in a multiple-stressor environment. Nevertheless, the consistent development of genomic instability and radio-adaptive response across generations and sampling sites unearths the utmost fundamental radiobiological principle of transgenerational non-targeted effects. As a result, it calls for better attention and regulation from global governing bodies of environmental health protection.

publication date

  • January 2020