Health: Radiation risk to genes may worsen

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The Independent Online
Genetic damage caused by radiation may grow worse with each new generation, new research has shown.

The discovery from studies of mice could lead to a re-evaluation of radiation safety guidelines in medicine and industry, it was claimed yesterday. No evidence has emerged until now that radiation can have a lasting effect passed from generation to generation.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki raised fears of inherited radiation damage. But studies of the descendants of the A-bomb survivors found no sign of this was happening. The dearth of mutations in later generations was thought to be the result of sperm and eggs repairing their DNA or the destruction of hopelessly damaged cells. But new research from the University of California at Davis has resurrected the spectre of generational radiation damage.

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