Genetic mutations from radiation exposure are up to 100 times higher than anything we have encountered in the animal kingdom -Dr. Fernex, Former WHO Consultant
In fact, researchers have been surprised to find that genetic damage, and above all perigenetic damage, which is responsible for genomic instability, to descendants is far worse than to parents; and this risk increases from one generation to the next. R.J.Baker and his colleagues, studying the DNA of genes transmitted from mother voles to their babies, found levels of mutation, from generation to generation, reaching 100 times higher than anything we have previously encountered up to now in the animal kingdom. The area in which these rodents live has seen its level of radioactivity decrease, because Caesium 137 is carried in rainwater and infiltrates deep into the soil, where it can be recycled by plants.
One might think that in forests far away from Chernobyl that these rodents would react positively to these improved radiological conditions. But the mutations and the genome fragility have increased over 22 generations in populations of voles studied by Goncharova and Ryabokon in Belarus. These geneticists have observed the opposite of an adaptation to radioactivity: an increase in genomic instability in all populations studied, from 30 to 300 kilometres away from the stricken reactor. In the least contaminated zones, near Minsk, the genomic instability is slow, but it will persist and worsen up to 22 generations later.
The genetic effects observed in both humans and rodents has led Professor Hillis, at the University of Texas, to conclude in his editorial in the review Nature, 25th April 1996: « We know today that the mutagenic effect of a nuclear accident can be far more serious than we ever suspected, and the eucaryotic genome can present levels of mutation that, up to now, would not have been considered possible. »
At Fukushima, genomic instability needs to be followed up over generations, starting with grandparents and parents, then the children and grand children. After a year, the damage caused by the mixture of internal and external radiation to children should be measured, by comparison with data from before 2011 in the same areas, or by comparing data with communities further away, that were spared the radioactive fallout. Birthweight, incidence of stillbirth, perinatal mortality up to 28 days, birth deformities (heart problems should be investigated later), and among the genetic diseases, Down’s syndrome, should all be studied. Brain damage with tumours, and developmental retardation which, like decreases in IQ, will become evident at school age