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Mutagenic effects of X-rays and formaldehyde food in spermatogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2009

H. Slizynska
Institute of Animal Genetics, Edinburgh, 9


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The structural changes induced by X-rays in cells at different stages of spermatogenesis were analysed in salivary gland chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster and compared with the changes induced by formaldehyde added to the food (FF) of the larvae.

The different stages of spermatogenesis vary in sensitivity to X-rays when measured by the percentage of sex-linked lethals, by the percentage of spermatozoa carrying structural changes, and by the number of changes in 100 spermatozoa. The proportions of the different types of change (T, In, Rp, Df), however, are fairly similar in all stages of spermatogenesis, but entirely different from those found after FF treatment. This suggests that it is the mutagen and not the sensitive stage which is responsible for the characteristic pattern of the FF effects.

The differences between the effects of X-rays and of FF are attributed to the different proportions of potential breaks induced by these two mutagens. Evidence has been presented indicating that while most of FF induced breaks are potential (about 73%), most of the X-rays induced breaks are immediate. For the dose rate used in the present experiment (below 1000 r/min.) only a small proportion (4–10%) of breaks induced by X-rays was found to be potential.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1963



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