Ulsh, B. A., Whicker, F. W., Hinton, T. G., Congdon, J. D. and Bedford, J. S. Chromosome Translocations in T. scripta: The Dose-Rate Effect and In Vivo Lymphocyte Radiation Response.
Using a whole-chromosome FISH painting probe we previously developed for chromosome 1 of the yellow-bellied slider turtle (Trachemys scripta), we investigated the dose-rate effect for radiation-induced symmetrical translocations in T. scripta fibroblasts and lymphocytes. The dose rate below which no reduction in effect per unit dose is observed with further dose protraction was approximately 23 cGy h–1. We estimated the whole-genome spontaneous background level of complete, apparently simple symmetrical translocations in T. scripta lymphocytes to be approximately 1.20 × 10–3/cell projected from aberrations occurring in chromosome 1. Similar spontaneous background levels reported for humans are some 6- to 25-fold higher, ranging from about 6 × 10–3 to 3.4 × 10–2 per cell. This relatively low background level for turtles would be a significant advantage for resolution of effects at low doses and dose rates. We also chronically irradiated turtles over a range of doses from 0–8 Gy delivered at approximately 5.5 cGy h–1 and constructed a lymphocyte dose–response curve for complete, apparently simple symmetrical translocations suitable for use with animals chronically exposed to radiation in contaminated environments. The best-fitting calibration curve (not constrained through the zero dose estimate) was of the form Yas = c aD bD2, where Yas was the number of apparently simple symmetrical translocations per cell, D was the dose (Gy), a = (0.0058 ± 0.0009), b = (–0.00033 ± 0.00011), and c = (0.0015 ± 0.0013). With additional whole-chromosome probes to improve sensitivity, environmental biodosimetry using stable chromosome translocations could provide a practical and genetically relevant measurement end point for ecological risk assessments and biomonitoring programs.