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The goal of our proposal is to clarify the impacts of low doses of radiation on key biological aspects in a short-lived animal model (the cricket). Current assessments of radiation exposure mainly emphasize cancer. Our model will allow us to more broadly assess important features like growth, maturation, survivorship, reproduction and life span as well as specific measures related to sensory, cognitive and motor functions, stress resistance and immunity. Radiation causes damage by creating reactive molecules that can attack cells and their DNA. At low doses, however, such molecules are essential biological signals. In particular we will test a theory called hormesis that suggests that low-dose radiation may actually improve rather than harm biological functions. Such information will help our industry partner to better address the concerns of the public and regulatory agencies regarding radiation safety. In addition, we will examine whether antioxidant supplements can offset negative impacts of high-dose radiation and provide additional health benefits at low doses of radiation exposure.
Christopher David Rollo
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