Since our last update, I have the good news that another of our CHRC PhD students, Dr Jade Stephens, has successfully defended her thesis. Jades work titled ‘Pre-conceptual radiation exposure and transgenerational effects’ involved two major elements of work.
The first contributes to the ongoing Genetic and Cytogenetic Family Trio (GCFT) study, which seeks to examine if there is any evidence to support there being a genetic legacy from participation at historical British nuclear
Here Jade and colleagues have been processing and analysing the blood samples received from adult children of nuclear test and control families to perform chromosome analysis. The purpose being firstly, to determine the chromosome constitution i.e. what genetic make-up we are born with and, secondly, whether the chromosomes show any evidence of newly arising changes to their structure at a different extent to what might be expected.
Aspects of this work remain ongoing and as with the other parts of the study, we will not be reporting back to individuals who have taken part, however the results will form part of a future publication which we will share after completion of the scientific peer review process.
The second major element of Jades work was a large review of all the published literature since 1988 on the question of whether exposure of a parent before conception can lead to adverse health effects in the unexposed child.
This review followed a defined method for systematically gathering the information and rating the quality of the published research, before assessing the strength of the evidence-based upon all published studies in particular health outcome groups, such as congenital abnormalities or cancers in children.
Stephens et al titled ‘A systematic review of human evidence for the intergenerational effects of parental pre-conceptional exposure to ionizing radiation’ is submitted to the International Journal of Radiation Biology for peer-review and once it is published, will be publicly available to all.
Another milestone to update you on is that the third body of work from the GCFT study is complete and has been submitted to an International Journal where it is presently undergoing peer-review for publication. Lawrence et al, titled ‘M-FISH evaluation of chromosome aberrations to examine for historical exposure to ionising radiation due to participation at British nuclear test sites’ will add to the information given in both the Rake et al 2022 and Moorhouse et al 2022 publications, enabling a more in-depth consideration of the questions addressed.
I would like to highlight another of our PhD students. Justin Dankwa is working on a project titled ‘The impact of radiation and chemicals on neural cytotoxicity, aging and transcription’ supervised by Dr Cristina Sisu and myself (for more details see Neuronal Effects – Centre for Health Effects of Radiological and Chemical Agents). His current research is working to identify genetic variations in the DNA sequences of both nuclear test and control veterans with a focus on variations in genes associated with brain function. This is one project which is utilising the previously generated DNA sequence data published in Moorhouse et al 2022, highlighting how we can utilise the outcomes of our research to address a number of different research questions. An overview of this project is described further in this edition of Exposure.
It is with sadness that I acknowledge Prof Yuri Dubrova who sadly passed away earlier this year. Yuri, together with his team at the University of Leicester, worked with us to generate germline mutation frequencies of families recruited to the GCFT study and in doing so, made a significant contribution to the GCFT study (as described in Moorhouse et al (2022)). All at CHRC are grateful for knowing and working with Yuri over many years. An obituary on the importance of Yuri’s work in the field of population genetics is available Professor Yuri Dubrova | About the University of Leicester | University of Leicester.
I would like to finish by wishing you all well and reminding you of our publications are freely available to all in different formats by accessing the links below and through www.chrc4veterans.uk. Additionally, the ‘Basic Information’ series is available as either flip-books or interactive versions, through our Knowledge Hub page on our website www.chrc4veterans.uk.
Thank you again to all our volunteers who have contributed to all of our projects and published works. CHRC staff are contactable via email at CHRC@brunel.ac.uk
Dr Rhona Anderson, Director, CHRC
To read the lay summaries and links to the published papers on the outcomes of our most recent studies.
British nuclear test veteran family trios for the study of genetic risk.
No evidence of increased mutations in the germline of a group of British nuclear test veterans
“Is that a coincidence?”: Exploring health perceptions and the causal attributions of physical health conditions in British nuclear test veterans
Exposure Worry: The Psychological Impact of Perceived Ionizing Radiation Exposure in British Nuclear Test Veterans.