Rapid translocation frequency analysis in humans decades after exposure to ionizing radiation

J. N. Lucas, A. Awa, T. Straume, M. Poggensee, Y. Kodama, M. Nakano, K. Ohtaki, H. U. Weier, D. Pinkel, J. Gray, G. Littlefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

437 Scopus citations


This paper presents an analysis of the utility of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with whole-chromosome probes for measurement of the genomic frequency of translocations found in the peripheral blood of individuals exposed to ionizing radiation. First, we derive the equation: Fp = 2.05fp(1 - fp)FG, relating the translocation frequency, Fp, measured using FISH to the genomic translocation frequency, FG, where fp is the fraction of the genome covered by the composite probe. We demonstrate the validity of this equation by showing that: (a) translocation detection efficiency predicted by the equation is consistent with experimental data as fp is changed; (b) translocation frequency dose-response curves measured in vitro using FISH agree well with dicentric frequency dose-response curves measured in vitro using conventional cytogenetic procedures; and (c) the genomic translocation frequencies estimated from FISH measurements for 20 Hiroshima A-bomb survivors and four workers exposed to ionizing radiation during the Y-12 criticality accident are approximately the same as the translocation frequencies measured using G-banding. We also show that translocation frequency dose response curves estimated using FISH are similar for Hiroshima A-bomb survivors and for first division lymphocytes irradiated in vitro. We conclude with a discussion of the potential utility of translocation frequency analysis for assessment of the level of acute radiation exposure independent of the time between analysis and exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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