Indentifying Suspected Damage to DNA

Glasgow University project with seed-corn funding from CMCRF.

Microsatellite DNA sequences are particularly prone to radiation induced mutation from magnetic fields. The risk of damage from exposure to high frequency radiation such as X-rays and gamma rays is well known, but the risks from low frequency radiation such as that found in electricity power distribution was initially anecdotal. The CMCRF provided seed-corn funding for research into the effects of low frequency fields, which did show some signs of DNA distortion from prolonged exposure.

The utilisation of microsatellite sequences for determination of radiation-induced mutations was found to be at least 1000 times more sensitive than analysis of coding genes such as the HPRT gene (the current gold standard method for detection of DNA mutation).

This project produced enough evidence of distortion to DNA to encourage a much larger charity to fund a continuation of the work.