Are Chromosomal Aberrations Reliable Indicators of Environmental Hazards?

  • John R. K. Savage


A very large number of agents and treatments are now known to produce structural chromosome aberrations. The types produced appear to be qualitatively (but not quantitatively) identical, and can be accommodated for scoring purposes within the classifications developed for aberrations produced by ionizing radiations.

The majority of the cellular test systems have intrinsic problems which need to be appreciated when planning and interpreting experiments.

Given that a treatment induces aberrations, the question of their significance must be considered at at least three levels; that of the cell, that of the organsim, where significance will vary from tissue to tissue, and that of the organism’s progeny. Extrapolation between these levels is often very difficult.

The actual resolution afforded by visually detectable aberrations is extremely poor in molecular terms, so that their absence after a particular treatment cannot be used as a criterion for safety.


Chromosome Aberration Environmental Hazard Sulphur Mustard Radiation Biol Aberration Formation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. K. Savage
    • 1
  1. 1.M.R.C. Radiobiology UnitHarwell, Didcot, Oxon.England

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