In experimental organisms such as fruit flies and mice, increased frequencies in germ cell mutations have been detected following exposure to ionizing radiation. In contrast, there has been no clear evidence for radiation-induced germ cell mutations in humans that lead to birth defects, chromosome aberrations, Mendelian disorders, etc. This situation exists partly because no sensitive and practical genetic marker is available for human studies and also because the number of people exposed to large doses of radiation and subsequently having offspring was small until childhood cancer survivors became an important study population. In addition, the genome of apparently normal individuals seems to contain large numbers of alterations, including dozens to hundreds of nonfunctional alleles. With the number of mutational events in protein-coding genes estimated as less than one per genome after 1 gray (Gy) exposure, it is unsurprising that genetic effects from radiation have not yet been detected conclusively in humans.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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