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alpha-particles, which are ionising radiation of high linear-energy-transfer emitted, for example, from radon or plutonium, pass through tissue as highly structured tracks. Single target cells in the path of the tracks might be damaged by even low-dose alpha-irradiation. We found non-clonal cytogenetic aberrations, characterised by a high frequency of chromatid aberrations with chromosome aberrations, in clonal descendants of haemopoietic stem cells after exposure to alpha-particles of bone marrow cells from two of four haematologically normal individuals (up to 25% abnormal metaphases). The data are consistent with a transmissible genetic instability induced in a stem cell resulting in a diversity of aberrations in its clonal progeny many cell divisions later.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





987 - 988


Alpha Particles, Animals, Bone Marrow, Chromosome Aberrations, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Leukemia, Radiation-Induced, Linear Energy Transfer, Mice