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Journal of radiological protection : official journal of the Society for Radiological Protection

Germline minisatellite mutations in workers occupationally exposed to radiation at the Sellafield nuclear facility.


PMID 25485533

Abstract

Germline minisatellite mutation rates were investigated in male workers occupationally exposed to radiation at the Sellafield nuclear facility. DNA samples from 160 families with 255 offspring were analysed for mutations at eight hypervariable minisatellite loci (B6.7, CEB1, CEB15, CEB25, CEB36, MS1, MS31, MS32) by Southern hybridisation. No significant difference was observed between the paternal mutation rate of 5.0% (37 mutations in 736 alleles) for control fathers with a mean preconceptional testicular dose of 9 mSv and that of 5.8% (66 in 1137 alleles) for exposed fathers with a mean preconceptional testicular dose of 194 mSv. Subgrouping the exposed fathers into two dose groups with means of 111 mSv and 274 mSv revealed paternal mutation rates of 6.0% (32 mutations in 536 alleles) and 5.7% (34 mutations in 601 alleles), respectively, neither of which was significantly different in comparisons with the rate for the control fathers. Maternal mutation rates of 1.6% (12 mutations in 742 alleles) for the partners of control fathers and 1.7% (19 mutations in 1133 alleles) for partners of exposed fathers were not significantly different. This study provides evidence that paternal preconceptional occupational radiation exposure does not increase the germline minisatellite mutation rate and therefore refutes suggestions that such exposure could result in a destabilisation of the germline that can be passed on to future generations.