Lack of transgenerational effects of ionizing radiation exposure from the Chernobyl accident


Effects of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear accident remain a topic of interest. We investigated whether children born to parents employed as cleanup workers or exposed to occupational and environmental ionizing radiation post-accident were born with more germline de novo mutations (DNMs). Whole-genome sequencing of 130 children (born 1987-2002) and their parents did not reveal an increase in the rates, distributions, or types of DNMs versus previous studies. We find no elevation in total DNMs regardless of cumulative preconception gonadal paternal (mean = 365 mGy, range = 0-4,080 mGy) or maternal (mean = 19 mGy, range = 0-550 mGy) exposure to ionizing radiation and conclude over this exposure range, evidence is lacking for a substantial effect on germline DNMs in humans, suggesting minimal impact on health of subsequent generations.

Authors: Meredith Yeager, Mitchell J Machiela, Prachi Kothiyal, Michael Dean, Clara Bodelon, Shalabh Suman, Mingyi Wang, Lisa Mirabello, Chase W Nelson, Weiyin Zhou, Cameron Palmer, Bari Ballew, Leandro M Colli, Neal D Freedman, Casey Dagnall, Amy Hutchinson, Vibha Vij, Yosi Maruvka, Maureen Hatch, Iryna Illienko, Yuri Belayev, Nori Nakamura, Vadim Chumak, Elena Bakhanova, David Belyi, Victor Kryuchkov, Ivan Golovanov, Natalia Gudzenko, Elizabeth K Cahoon, Paul Albert, Vladimir Drozdovitch, Mark P Little, Kiyohiko Mabuchi, Chip Stewart, Gad Getz, Dimitry Bazyka, Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, Stephen J Chanock
; Full Source: Science (New York, N.Y.) 2021 Apr 22;eabg2365. doi: 10.1126/science.abg2365.