images mostly from the Pacific Rim by photographer bruce behnke
Saturday, August 11, 2012
pay attention 10
Radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture created abnormalities among the nation's butterflies, according to a team of researchers.
"We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima (No. 1) nuclear power plant caused physiological and genetic damage" to pale grass blue butterflies, a common species in Japan, a recent article in the British journal Nature said.
Radiation exposure harmed butterflies' genes, and the damage could well be passed on to future generations, the article stated.
Abnormalities such as unusually small wings were found in 12 percent of the total. But the rate rose to 18 percent in a second generation produced through mating among the butterflies collected and some even died before reaching adulthood.
When second generation butterflies with abnormal traits mated with healthy ones, the rate of abnormalities rose to 34 percent in the third generation, according to the article.
The team collected another 238 butterflies last September and determined that the abnormality rate stood at 28 percent. However, it nearly doubled to 52 percent among a second generation born to the original butterflies caught.