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Radiat Res. 1999 Jul;152(1):1-5.

Chromosome aberrations of clonal origin in irradiated and unexposed individuals: assessment and implications.

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Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University, 630 West 168th Street, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Chromosome painting has proven useful for the detection of chromosomal rearrangements, although the presence of cells containing clonal aberrations can have an effect on the outcome of cytogenetic analyses (e.g. aberration frequency and chromosomal distribution studies). Cells with clonal chromosomal changes have been found in studies of both radiation-exposed Chernobyl cleanup workers ("liquidators") and healthy unexposed human subjects. We have used a simple statistical method to aid in the identification of individuals from distinct Chernobyl radiation-exposed and unexposed control populations who may possess cells containing clonal rearrangements. A chi2 value determined from the observed number of aberrations and the expected number based on chromosome length that corresponds to a probability less than 0.005 appears to be an indicator of clonality. These selected individuals can be analyzed further for clonality, thereby sparing detailed examination of the entire population. Here we present an analysis of individuals possessing clonal aberrations to assess the influence of clonality on the results of cytogenetic studies. Our results show that the subtraction of clonal events from the chi2 calculation for the "outliers" results in nearly all of these values losing their statistically significant deviation from proportionality. These adjustments can also be made to prevent the overestimation of frequencies of chromosome aberrations for biodosimetry. The frequency of clonal aberrations appears to increase as a function of age in control subjects, whereas an age effect was not evident in Chernobyl liquidators. This suggests that spontaneous and radiation-induced clonal expansion are occurring in control subjects and liquidators, respectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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