Radioactive fallout from Fukushima nuke disaster caused abnormalities in Japan's butterflies

Tokyo, Aug. 12 (ANI): 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.

"Sensitivity (to irradiation) varies between species, so research should be conducted on other animals," japan times quoted Joji Otaki, a team member and associate professor at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, as saying.

"Humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be far more resistant" to the health effects of radiation, Otaki noted.

Abnormalities such as unusually small wings were found in 12 percent of the total butterflies.

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 researchers said the butterflies collected in May were heavily exposed to radiation as larvae.

The impact was apparently more severe on the second generation, as well as on the butterflies collected in September, because they suffered heavy exposure at a far earlier stage while they were still fertilized eggs or just reproduction cells, according to the team. (ANI)