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Genetic mutations after a power plant explosion: a new study examines "Chernobyl children"

Genetic mutations after a power plant explosion: a new study examines “Chernobyl children”

The radiation released after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant contaminated the area and affected hundreds of thousands of people. Many fear the effect of exposure on their offspring in the future. The answer to this question has been provided by a new study.

In a scientific journal, he describes, “People think that if they are exposed to radiation, it will affect the next generation.” Science Immunologist Dimitrij Pazika of the Ukrainian National Research Center for Radiation Medicine. So experts from the international scientific team decided a few years ago to confirm or refute this concern. They released their findings on Thursday, a few days before the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster on Monday.

The new study is the first of its kind because it uses DNA research to answer the question, in addition to the largest number of volunteers to date. Of the more than 200 people who participated in the research between 2014 and 2018, 105 were 105 people who were within 70 kilometers of the power plant at the time of the explosion or who later helped clean up the site. Meanwhile, the researchers took 130 more samples of genetic information from their children after the accident.

Experts compared the DNA of the parents and children to see if they had the types of genetic mutations their parents didn’t have that could indicate the effects of radiation. But they found nothing of the sort.

“If someone has a harmful mutation this is rare. We are not saying it will never happen, but we do not see any threat to public health,” he told the magazine. National Geographic Stephen Shanuck, one of the authors of the research.

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The tumor does not matter if there is radiation in the body

Besides the aforementioned study, a team of scientists also published a second study focusing on the increased incidence of thyroid cancer in the region, which local doctors observed a few years after the explosion. Previous data showed that especially in young children who have been exposed to radiation, there is a higher chance of developing this type of cancer.

Experts used samples from 440 people who had developed cancer in the past 20 years in the research, 359 of whom had been exposed to radiation. Ukrainian doctors and experts have deposited it in the Chernobyl tissue bank in recent decades. Study leader Lindsay Morton was quoted as saying, “These scientists know that technology will develop in the future. The scientific community is now benefiting from their foresight.” National Institute of Health.

Morton’s team found similarities between the patients – most of them were women who were seven years old at the time of the blast and had been diagnosed with cancer by doctors around the age of 28. However, further investigations found no similarities, and thus the effect of the radiation. Although the samples revealed the effect of radiation on human DNA, it has not been confirmed that the resulting mutations caused the same problems.

“Both studies represent a critical breakthrough in evaluating the effects of radiation on humans,” radiological physicist Shaheen Diogi told National Geographic.

For immunologist Dimitri Pazek, that’s good news for personal reasons, too. When the Chernobyl explosion occurred, he was working in a hospital in Kiev, where police officers went to treat radiation-exposed areas. They suffered from burns and other health problems. “At least their children will be healthier than they used to be,” he was quoted by science as saying.

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Video: My hands were like after sunbathing. The engineer recalls the work in the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor

Oleksij Breus is back in the town of Pripyat, which he built half a century ago, and where the employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant live. | Video: Radio Free Europe