EMF Health-effects Research

Assessment of radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation by the micronucleus test in bovine peripheral erythrocytes.

Balode Z

Sci Total Environ 180(1):81-85, 1996

Previous bioindicative studies in the Skrunda Radio Location Station area have focused on the somatic influence of electromagnetic radiation on plants, but it is also important to study genetic effects. We have chosen cows as test animals for cytogenetical evaluation because they live in the same general exposure area as humans, are confined to specific locations and are chronically exposed to radiation.

Blood samples were obtained from female Latvian Brown cows from a farm close to and in front of the Skrunda Radar and from cows in a control area. A simplified alternative to the Schiff method of DNA staining for identification of micronuclei in peripheral erythrocytes was applied.

Microscopically, micronuclei in peripheral blood erythrocytes were round in shape and exhibited a strong red colour. They are easily detectable as the only coloured bodies in the uncoloured erythrocytes. From each individual animal 2000 erythrocytes were examined at a magnification of x 1000 for the presence of micronuclei. The counting of micronuclei in peripheral erythrocytes gave low average incidences, 0.6 per 1000 in the exposed group and 0.1 per 1000 in the control, but statistically significant (P < 0.01) differences were found in the frequency distribution between the control and exposed groups.

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