This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.
How much of radiation's mutagenic impact is passed on to unborn generations?
Long-term animal experiments at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory have failed to reveal any genetic effect from large gonadal radiation doses.
None of the 40 factors examined in 44 consecutive generations of mice have appeared affected, John F. Spalding, PhD, told a Clinical Convention symposium.
"This does not mean the situation is the same for humans. But we cannot make that test," he noted. "And our results shouldn't lull the radiologist or the nuclear test triggerman into a false sense of security."
In the Los Alamos experiments, male mice received whole body doses of 200 rads just after weaning and before mating began. This is some 20 times the recommended safe gonadal dose for man.
Because female mice become irreversibly sterile after only 25 rad exposures, they have not been exposed.
The irradiated males are allowed to breed as
Mouse Offspring Fail to Suffer After Mutagenic Radiation to Parent. JAMA. 1966;198(11):43. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110240017009