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The World in Medicine
March 13, 2002

Weapons Tests and Mutations

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JAMA. 2002;287(10):1255. doi:10.1001/jama.287.10.1255-JWM20003-3-1

Inherited germline mutation rates in people living near a Kazakhstan nuclear test site roughly doubled due to radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests carried out in the late 1940s to early 1950s, according to an international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, and Finland (Science. 2002;295:1037).

Investigators collected blood samples from 40 three-generation families living around the Semipalatinsk test site, the focus of 470 nuclear weapons tests by the former Soviet Union during a 40-year period. Blood samples were also collected from a control group of 28 three-generation families living in a similar noncontaminated rural area in Kazakhstan.

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