Salomaa, S., Lindholm, C., Tankimanova, M. K., Mamyrbaeva, Z. Z., Koivistoinen, A., Hulten, M., Mustonen, R., Dubrova, Y. E. and Bersimbaev, R. I. Stable Chromosome Aberrations in the Lymphocytes of a Population Living in the Vicinity of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site. Radiat. Res. 158, 591–596 (2002).
Translocation analysis using FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) chromosome painting was performed to evaluate the magnitude of exposure to ionizing radiation among the human population living close to the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. We studied two generations of people living in villages that were in the path of the radioactive cloud from the first Soviet surface nuclear test performed in August 1949 and from later tests. The older generation (P0) lived in the area at the time of testing, and the younger generation (F1) was exposed to smaller doses from the residual fallout and later tests. In both P0 and F1 generations, similar translocation frequencies were observed in persons living in either the Semipalatinsk area or a noncontaminated area. Assuming translocation stability in peripheral blood lymphocytes over several decades, these findings suggest that on average, the magnitude of exposure of this cohort in the Semipalatinsk area has been considerably smaller than that reported in the literature. Previously reported doses of the order of 1−4.5 Gy (mean 2.9 Gy in the P0 generation) cannot be confirmed by the present data.