Date of Defense



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Gyula Ficsor, Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Steven Bertman, Chemistry

Third Advisor

Irene Jones, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Mutant lymphocytes from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident clean-up workers (known as liquidators) exposed to 5-25 cGy radiation and from mathced, unexposed Russian controls have been analyzed. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was used to compare the size and deletion pattersn of the hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (hprt) gene. Six hundred ninety four mutants were analyzed - 257 mutants from 61 control donors and 337 mutants from 39 liquidators donors. Total gene deletions accounted for around 3.6% (13/357) of the deletion events for the controls and 3.6% (12/357)of the deletion events for the liquidators. The mutants with deletions at the 3' and/or 5' end of the gene were also analyzed with regard to twelve markers extending 1.6 Mb from the 3' end and 1.75Mb from the 5' end. This mutation analysis is a pilot study for a larger investigation to determine if patterns of deletion in the hprt gene are more sensitive than looking at the overall frequency of mutations at the hprt gene in determining a signature of genetic damage caused by low doses of radiation.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only