Letter | Published:

Excessive Variation in Radiation-induced Chromosome Aberrations

Naturevolume 193pages795796 (1962) | Download Citation



IN recent work on radiation-induced chromosome aberrations in mammalian cell cultures it was observed that the number of aberrations per cell did not follow the anticipated Poisson distribution law1. This is clearly seen in Table 1 and Fig. 1. With Poisson variation the observed average number of aberrations at each dose-level ( = ΣX/n) would have tended to equal the observed variance (S2 = σ(X)2/(n–l)). Instead the variance is consistently greater, exceeding the average by a factor of 2.65 at the highest radiation dose-level used. Associated with the excessive variation noted was a surplus of cells in which there were either none or very many aberrations when comparison is made with the anticipated frequency of such instances, assuming Poisson variation. Such effects are also noted in the work of Wakonig and Ford2 and Bender and Wolff3.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Greenblatt, C. L., Intern. J. Rad. Biol. (in the press).

  2. 2

    Wakonig, R., and Ford, D. K., Canad. J. Zool., 38, 203 (1960).

  3. 3

    Bender, M. A., and Wolff, S., Amer. Nat. (in the press).

  4. 4

    Sparrow, A. N., Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 51, 1508 (1951).

  5. 5

    Giese, A. C., Quart. Rev. Biol., 22, 253 (1947).

  6. 6

    Elkind, M. M., and Sutton, H., Nature, 184, 1293 (1959).

  7. 7

    Carlson, J. G., in Radiation Biology, edit. by Hollaender, A., 1 (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954).

  8. 8

    Puck, T. T., Amer. Nat., 94, 95 (1960); Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 44, 772 (1958).

  9. 9

    Engelberg, J., Rad. Res., 9, 441 (1959).

Download references

Author information


  1. National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland



  1. Search for NATHAN MANTEL in:

  2. Search for CHARLES L. GREENBLATT in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date




By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.