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The most stable isotope of radon, 222Rn, represents the major source of natural radioactivity in confined environments such as mines, caves and houses. In this study, we explored the possible radon-related effects on the genome of Dolichopoda cave crickets (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) sampled in caves with different concentrations of radon. We analyzed specimens from ten populations belonging to two genetically closely related species, D. geniculata and D. laetitiae, and explored the possible association between the radioactivity dose and the level of genetic polymorphism in a specific family of satellite DNA (pDo500 satDNA). Radon concentration in the analyzed caves ranged from 221 to 26000 Bq/m3. Specimens coming from caves with the highest radon concentration showed also the highest variability estimates in both species, and the increased sequence heterogeneity at pDo500 satDNA level can be explained as an effect of the mutation pressure induced by radon in cave. We discovered a specific category of nuclear DNA, the highly repetitive satellite DNA, where the effects of the exposure at high levels of radon-related ionizing radiation are detectable, suggesting that the satDNA sequences might be a valuable tool to disclose harmful effects also in other organisms exposed to high levels of radon concentration.
DNA, Dolichopoda Cave, Crickets
Allegrucci, Giuliana; Sbordoni, Valerio; and Cesaroni, Donatella, "Is Radon Emission in Caves Causing Deletions in Satellite DNA Sequences of Cave-Dwelling Crickets?" (2015). KIP Articles. 2814.