What is it about?

We investigated the effects of low-dose-rate radiation on the genetics of two widely cultivated Japanese tree species, Japanese cedar and flowering cherry, following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. We found no significant increase in de novo mutations in the germplasm of these trees growing in contaminated areas, and no correlation between observed mutations and radiation levels or the concentration of radioactive isotopes in the trees.

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Why is it important?

Our research sheds light on an area of research that has been largely unexplored. Our findings suggest that exposure to low-dose-rate radiation did not significantly increase the mutation rate of Japanese cedar and flowering cherry trees in the affected area. This is an important finding that could help ease concerns about the long-term effects of radiation exposure on the environment and living organisms.


I am thrilled to have been a part of this research project that has successfully established a method for rapidly detecting mutations in trees growing in the wild. This new method has the potential to revolutionize genetic impact assessments of trees in various environments. It was exciting to be involved in this research, which sheds light on the fundamental mechanism of genetic diversity in living organisms. I hope that our findings will inspire further research into the relative effects of external factors, such as radiation and chemicals, on mutations and repair capabilities. Ultimately, this could lead to new strategies for managing and preserving tree species for future generations.

Dr. Saneyoshi Ueno

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Rapid survey of de novo mutations in naturally growing tree species following the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima: the effect of low-dose-rate radiation, Environment International, March 2023, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2023.107893.
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