The explosion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant resulted in some of the most radioactively contaminated habitats on earth. Despite evacuation of all human inhabitants from the most contaminated areas, animals and plants continue to thrive in these areas. This study examines the levels of contamination and genetic damage associated with radiocesium in catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) from the cooling pond and a control site. In general, catfish from the cooling pond exhibit greater genetic damage, and the amount of damage is related to the concentration of radiocesium in individual fish. Genetic damage is primarily in the form of DNA strand breaks, with few micronuclei being observed in contaminated fish. The possible roles that acclimation and adaption play in the response to high levels of radiation exposure are discussed.
- Chernobyl DNA damage