[ RadSafe ] Mutant butterflies a result of Fukushima nuclear disaster, researchers say (Posted on CNN News)

Robert Bradley rpb.bradley at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 18:40:50 CDT 2012

Without having read the full paper, how have the researchers accounted for
the chemical contamination of the devastation due to the tsunamis?

-     -  RPB

Robert Bradley, Health Canada, retired

On Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 6:38 PM, Perle, Sandy <sperle at mirion.com> wrote:

> In the first sign that the Fukushima nuclear disaster may be changing life
> around it, scientists say they've found mutant butterflies.
> Some of the butterflies had abnormalities in their legs, antennae, and
> abdomens, and dents in their eyes, according to the study published in
> Scientific Reports, an online journal from the team behind Nature.<
> http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120809/srep00570/full/srep00570.html>
> Researchers also found that some affected butterflies had broken or
> wrinkled wings, changes in wing size, color pattern changes, and spots
> disappearing or increasing on the butterflies.
> The study began two months after an earthquake and tsunami devastated
> swaths of northeastern Japan in March 2011, triggering a nuclear disaster.
> The Fukushima Daiichi plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of
> thousands of residents from the surrounding area in the worst nuclear
> accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
> In May 2011, researchers collected more than 100 pale grass blue
> butterflies in and around the Fukushima prefecture and found that 12% of
> them had abnormalities or mutations. When those butterflies mated, the rate
> of mutations in the offspring rose to 18%, according to the study, which
> added that some died before reaching adulthood. When the offspring mated
> with healthy butterflies that weren't affected by the nuclear crisis, the
> abnormality rate rose to 34%, indicating that the mutations were being
> passed on through genes to offspring at high rates even when one of the
> parent butterflies was healthy.
> The scientists wanted to find out how things stood after a longer amount
> of time and again collected more than 200 butterflies last September.
> Twenty-eight percent of the butterflies showed abnormalities, but the rate
> of mutated offspring jumped to 52%, according to researchers. The study
> indicated that second-generation butterflies, the ones collected in
> September, likely saw higher numbers of mutations because they were exposed
> to the radiation either as larvae or earlier than adult butterflies first
> collected.
> To make sure that the nuclear disaster was in fact the cause of the
> mutations, researchers collected butterflies that had not been affected by
> radiation and gave them low-dose exposures of radiation and found similar
> results.
> "We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear
> Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this species," the
> study said.
> The results of the study bring up concerns about the larger impact of the
> Fukushima disaster and the impact it will have on the ecosystem in Japan
> and nearby areas, as well as what we can learn for future nuclear disasters.
> "Our results are consistent with the previous field studies that showed
> that butterfly populations are highly sensitive to artificial radionuclide
> contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima," the study said. "Together, the
> present study indicates that the pale grass blue butterfly is probably one
> of the best indicator species for radionuclide contamination in Japan."
> One of the researchers, Joji Otaki, an associate professor at the
> University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, told reporters that while butterflies
> may be the best indicator, the study should also lead to more research on
> what else may be affected by the radiation.
> "Sensitivity (to irradiation) varies between species, so research should
> be conducted on other animals," Otaki told the Japan Times.<
> http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120812a2.html>
> Otaki said while there is still plenty of research to be done on
> radiation, there shouldn't be large-scale concern about this kind of
> mutation in humans.
> "Humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be far more
> resistant" to radiation, he told the newspaper.
> -----------------------------------
> Sander C. Perle
> President
> Mirion Technologies
> Dosimetry Services Division
> 2652 McGaw Avenue
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> +1 (949) 296-2306 (Office)
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