James V. Neel and Yuri E. Dubrova: Cold War Debates and the Genetic Effects of Low-Dose Radiation
- 349 Downloads
This article traces disagreements about the genetic effects of low-dose radiation exposure as waged by James Neel (1915–2000), a central figure in radiation studies of Japanese populations after World War II, and Yuri Dubrova (1955–), who analyzed the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. In a 1996 article in Nature, Dubrova reported a statistically significant increase in the minisatellite (junk) DNA mutation rate in the children of parents who received a high dose of radiation from the Chernobyl accident, contradicting studies that found no significant inherited genetic effects among offspring of Japanese A-bomb survivors. Neel’s subsequent defense of his large-scale longitudinal studies of the genetic effects of ionizing radiation consolidated current scientific understandings of low-dose ionizing radiation. The article seeks to explain how the Hiroshima/Nagasaki data remain hegemonic in radiation studies, contextualizing the debate with attention to the perceived inferiority of Soviet genetic science during the Cold War.
KeywordsRadiation studies Low-dose radiation Genetic effects Cold War James V. Neel Yuri E. Dubrova
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Altukhov, Yuri. 1990. Population Genetics: Diversity and Stability. Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH.Google Scholar
- Altukhov, Yuri. 2006. Intraspecific Genetic Diversity: Monitoring, Conservation, and Management. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Balonov, Mikhail. 2011. “Review of volume 1181.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. www.nyas.org/publications/annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd1651ba4d7ba086753f44b3bfc1/. Accessed 2 February 2013.
- Bauer, Susanne. 2010. “Tracing Mutations: Biodosimetry Tools in Post-Cold War Radiation Epidemiology.” Luis Campos and Alexander von Schwerin (eds.), Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts. Preprint 393. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, pp. 209–224.Google Scholar
- Bertell, Rosalie. 1985. No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth. London: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
- Bird, Kai, and Sherwin, Martin J. 2005. American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. New York: A.A. Knopf.Google Scholar
- Bouffler, Simon, and Lloyd, David. 2002. Minisatellite Mutations: Second Dubrova Study and NRPB Commentary on Second Dubrova Study. Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE). Radiological Protection Bulletin 1. http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1211528166233. Accessed 13 March 2012.
- Brent, Robert L. 2004. “Utilization of Animal Studies to Determine the Effects and Human Risks of Environmental Toxicants (Drugs, Chemicals, and Physical Agents).” Pediatrics 113(4): 984–995.Google Scholar
- Brown, Kate. 2012. “A People’s Truth.” Aeon Magazine. http://www.aeonmagazine.com/world-views/kate-brown-nuclear-downwinders/. Accessed 13 March 2013.
- Brown, Kate. 2013. Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Button, Gregory. 2010. Disaster Culture: Knowledge and Uncertainty in the Wake of Human and Environmental Catastrophe. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
- Chernobyl Forum. 2006. Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts. Vienna: IAEA.Google Scholar
- DeJong-Lambert, William. 2010. “Hermann J. Muller and the Biopolitics of Mutations and Heredity.” Luis Campos and Alexander von Schwerin (eds.), Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts. Preprint 393. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, pp. 151–175.Google Scholar
- Geltzer, Anna. 2012. In a Distorted Mirror: The Cold War and U.S.-Soviet Biomedical Cooperation and (Mis) Understanding, 1956–1977. Journal of Cold War Studies 14(3): 39–63.Google Scholar
- Gofman, John. 1981. Radiation and Human Health. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.Google Scholar
- Goldstein, Donna M. 2012. “Experimentalité: Pharmaceutical Insights into Anthropology’s Epistemologically Fractured Self.” Susan Levine (ed.), Medicine and the Politics of Knowledge. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC, pp. 118–151.Google Scholar
- Grady, Denise. 2011. “Radiation is everywhere, but how to rate harm?” New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/health/05radiation.html?pagewanted=all. Accessed 2 February 2013.
- Green, Gayle. 1999. The Woman Who Knew Too Much – Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Hecht, Gabrielle. 2012. Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Hodge, Russ, and Wegner, Anna-Lynn. 2006. “Alec Jeffreys Interview: A Pioneer on the Frontier of Human Diversity.” Science in School 3: 16–19.Google Scholar
- IPPNW. 2011. Health Effects of Chernobyl: 25 Years After the Reactor Catastrophe. Berlin: IPPNW.Google Scholar
- Johnston, B.R. 2007. “Half-lives, Half-Truths, and Other Radioactive Legacies of the Cold War.” Barbara R. Johnston (ed.), Half-lives & Half-Truths: Confronting the Radioactive Legacies of the Cold War. Santa Fe, NM: A School for Advanced Research Resident Scholar Book, pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
- Johnston, B.R. 2011. In This Nuclear World, What is the Meaning of ‘Safe’? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. http://thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/nuclear-world-what-themeaning-of-safe. Accessed 2 February 2013.
- Johnston, B.R., and Barker, Holly M. 2008. The Consequential Damages of Nuclear War: The Rongelap Report. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
- Jolly, Christopher. 2003. Thresholds of Uncertainty: Radiation and Responsibility in the Fallout Controversy. Ph.D. Thesis, Oregon State University.Google Scholar
- Kato, Hiroo, Schull, William, and Neel, James. 1966. “A Cohort-Type Study of Survival in the Children of Parents Exposed to Atomic Bombings.” American Journal of Human Genetics 18: 339–373.Google Scholar
- Kodaira, Mieko, Satoh, Chiyoko, Hiyama, Keiko, et al. 1995. “Lack of Effects of Atomic Bomb Radiation on Genetic Instability of Tandem-Repetitive Elements in Human Germ Cells.” American Journal of Human Genetics 57(6): 1275–1283.Google Scholar
- Kolata, Gina. 2012. “Bits of Mystery DNA, far from ‘Junk,’ Play crucial Role.” New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/science/far-from-junk-dna-dark-matter-proves-crucial-to-health.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. Accessed 2 February 2013.
- Krementsov, Nikolai. 2005. International Science Between the World Wars: The Case of Genetics. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Latour, Bruno. 1987. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Latour, Bruno. 1988. The Pasteurization of France. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Latour, Bruno, and Woolgar, Steve. 1986 [Original 1979]. Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Lubrano, Linda, and Solomon, Susan Gross. 1980. The Social Context of Soviet Science. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Medvedev, Zhores. 1976. “Two Decades of Dissidence.” New Scientist 72(1025): 264–267.Google Scholar
- Morgenstern, Hal, Froines, John, Ritz, Beate, et al. 1997. Final Report: Epidemiologic Study to Determine Possible Adverse Effects to Rocketdyne/Atomics International Workers from Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. Contract No. 324A-8701-S0163. Berkeley, CA: Public Health Institute.Google Scholar
- National Research Council (US). 2006. Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2, Vol. 7. Committee to Assess Health Risks from Exposure to Low Level of Ionizing Radiation. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V. 1958. “Study of Major Congenital Defects in Japanese Infants.” American Journal of Human Genetics 10(4): 398–445.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V. 1959. Correspondence, James V. Neel to Theodosius Dobzhansky, July 8, 1959, James Van Gundia Neel Papers, Correspondence with Theodosius Dobzhansky from 1946–1971. American Philosophical Society.Google Scholar
- Neel, James. 1987. “Curt Stern 1902–1981.” Biographical Memoirs, Volume 56. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V. 1994. Physician to the Gene Pool: Genetic lessons and Other Stories. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V. 1996. The Genetic Effects of Ionizing Radiation on Humans. Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Human Genetics. http://ibisbirthdefects.org/start/neelppr.htm. Accessed 2 February 2013.
- Neel, James V., and Schull, William. 1956. The Effect of Exposure to the Atomic Bomb on Pregnancy Termination in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences National Research Council, Publ. No. 461.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V., and Schull, William. 1991a. “Orientation.” James Neel and William Schull (eds.), The Children of Atomic Bomb Survivors: A Genetic Study. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, pp. 1–8.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V., and Schull, William. 1991b. “The Future of These Studies.” James Neel and William Schull (eds.), The Children of Atomic Bomb Survivors: A Genetic Study. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, pp. 487–494.Google Scholar
- Neel, James V., and Schull, William. 1991c. The Children of Atomic Bomb Survivors: A Genetic Study. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
- Petryna, Adriana. 2002. Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Petryna, Adriana. 2004. Biological Citizenship: The Science and Politics of Chernobyl-Exposed Populations. Osiris, 2nd series, vol. 19, Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Illness in Modern Environments, pp. 250–265.Google Scholar
- Pollock, Ethan. 2006. Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Rader, Karen. 2004. Making Mice: Standardizing Animals for American Biomedical Research, 1900–1955. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Schull, William, and Neel, James. 1965. The Effects of Inbreeding on Japanese Children. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Spencer, Warren, and Stern, Curt. 1948. “Experiments to Test the Validity of the Linear R-Dose/Mutation Frequency Relation in Drosophila at Low Dosage.” Genetics 33(1): 43–74.Google Scholar
- Tredici, Robert. 1987. At Work in the Fields of the Bomb. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Vidal, John. 2010. “Chernobyl Nuclear Accident: Figures for Deaths and Cancers Still in Dispute.” The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jan/10/chernobyl-nuclear-deaths-cancers-dispute. Accessed 10 October 2013.
- Welsome, Eileen. 1999. The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War. New York: Dial Press.Google Scholar
- Yablokov, Alexey, Nesterenko, Vassily, Nesterenko, Alexey, et al. 2009. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Boston, MA: Blackwell/New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar