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High levels of genetic change in rodents of Chernobyl

A Retraction to this article was published on 06 November 1997


BASE-PAIR substitution rates for the mitochondria! cytochrome b gene of free-living, native populations of voles collected next to reactor 4 at Chernobyl, Ukraine, were estimated by two indepen-dent methods to be in excess of 10 −4 nucleotides per site per generation. These estimates are hundreds of times greater than those typically found in mitochondria of vertebrates, suggesting that the environment resulting from this nuclear power plant disaster is having a measurable genetic impact on the organisms of that region. Despite these DNA changes, vole populations thrive and reproduce in the radioactive regions around the Chernobyl reactor.

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Barker, R., Van Den Bussche, R., Wright, A. et al. High levels of genetic change in rodents of Chernobyl. Nature 380, 707–708 (1996).

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