The Genetic and Cytogenetic Family Trio (GCFT) study is the largest body of work currently being undertaken by the CHRC. As many of you are aware, the study seeks to examine if there is any evidence to support there being a genetic legacy from participation at historical British nuclear test sites and has (and will continue to), involve numerous researchers working on multiple, different projects.

As outlined in this Edition of Exposure, peer-reviewed manuscripts of parts of this study are being published and are also being made available in different formats through www.chrc4veterans.uk

For some, the Moorhouse et al., 2022 publication may raise more questions than we can currently address. For instance, why does the Moorhouse et al. paper talk about finding no evidence for a genetic legacy when the Rake et al., 2022 paper and, various non-peer-reviewed studies, describe self-reported examples of veterans with children or grandchildren with adverse health conditions. 

The GCFT study was designed to seek evidence for genetic damage likely caused by exposure to radiation in veteran fathers and, to look for any genetic alterations in children born to such exposed fathers. It is the case that having a higher level of genetic damage may increase the risk of developing some medical conditions but, this outcome is fortunately not an absolute. 

What this means is that if we were to find evidence of radiation-related genetic damage in the test veterans or in their families we could not conclude that this was the cause of any reported ill health issues. 

What it would do would be to direct additional research studies where the meaning for health may be explored in much greater detail. Moorhouse et al., compares all families within the test veteran group with all families within the control veteran group. The conclusion of this analysis is that we find no difference in the amount of newly arising germline mutations between those two groupings. As outlined in ‘What have we learnt from the Genetic and Cytogenetic Family Trio study so far?’, published in this edition of Exposure, it is only upon the completion of all parts of this study that we will be able to undertake a deeper examination of our findings from across all parts of the CGFT study. Keeping in mind that no individual study, including the GCFT study, will be able to answer the health questions of the nuclear community once and for all, what we are generating is an incremental contribution towards that.

Dr George Collett, a recent PhD student at CHRC, has published another body of work from his PhD thesis. ‘Is that a coincidence?: Exploring health perceptions and the causal attributions of physical health conditions in British nuclear test veterans’ has just been published in SSM-Qualitative Research in Health. A summary of this work is published in this edition of Exposure and a link is provided for those who wish to read the entire manuscript.

I would like to finish by reminding you of our ‘Basic Information’ series which 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