Project R-9261


Plant adaptability underchronic low dose gamma exposure (Research)


Life is constantly exposed to some form of radiation. However, with the increase of anthropogenic activities and accidents this can be significantly increased. The accident at Chernobyl or Fukushima, for example, in which large areas were contaminated with radiation. Yet nature persists in these dangerous zones, which has sparked the discussion on a possible adaptability to radiation. Already some potential signs have been found in plants within one generation as well as in following generations, however more research is needed. Plants are sessile organisms and are not able to move away from danger, therefore they have to adapt to the harsh conditions or they will perish. Because of this, plants are a very interesting group to study. This project will in particular focus on studying this potential adaptability to radiation on a genetic and epigenetic level. Epigenetics are heritable changes in gene function that do not change the genetic sequence, DNA methylation for instance which changes gene expression. We will test if previous exposures to gamma-radiation lead to a higher resistance or susceptibility towards new exposures. And we will look if there are epigenetic or genetic indications that can explain these responses. We will also study if chronic low dose gamma-radiation leads to an enhanced genetic variation. Lastly we hope to shed more light on the issue of the discrepancy between field and lab radiation observations that has been seen in previous research. Within this project we will be using three different plant species, namely Arabidopsis thaliana, Lemna minor and Taraxacum officinale

Period of project

01 October 2018 - 30 September 2022