The purpose of this work is to highlight the effects of ionizing radiation on the genetic material in higher plants by assessing both adaptive processes as well as the evolution of plant species. The effects that the ionizing radiation has on greenery following a nuclear accident, was examined by taking the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster as a case study. The genetic and evolutionary effects that ionizing radiation had on plants after the Chernobyl accident were highlighted. The response of biota to Chernobyl irradiation was a complex interaction among radiation dose, dose rate, temporal and spatial variation, varying radiation sensitivities of the different plants' species, and indirect effects from other events. Ionizing radiation causes water radiolysis, generating highly reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS induce the rapid activation of detoxifying enzymes. DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (DNA) is the object of an attack by both, the hydroxyl ions and the radiation itself, thus triggering a mechanism both direct and indirect. The effects on DNA are harmful to the organism and the long-term development of the species. Dose-dependent aberrations in chromosomes are often observed after irradiation. Although multiple DNA repair mechanisms exist, double-strand breaks (DSBs or DNA-DSBs) are often subject to errors. Plants DSBs repair mechanisms mainly involve homologous and non-homologous dependent systems, the latter especially causing a loss of genetic information. Repeated ionizing radiation (acute or chronic) ensures that plants adapt, demonstrating radioresistance. An adaptive response has been suggested for this phenomenon. As a result, ionizing radiation influences the genetic structure, especially during chronic irradiation, reducing genetic variability. This reduction may be associated with the fact that particular plant species are more subject to chronic stress, confirming the adaptive theory. Therefore, the genomic effects of ionizing radiation demonstrate their likely involvement in the evolution of plant species.

Adaptation to Ionizing Radiation of Higher Plants: from Environmental Radioactivity to Chernobyl Disaster

Andrea Chierici;Maria Grazia Cascone;Francesco d'Errico;
2020-01-01

Abstract

The purpose of this work is to highlight the effects of ionizing radiation on the genetic material in higher plants by assessing both adaptive processes as well as the evolution of plant species. The effects that the ionizing radiation has on greenery following a nuclear accident, was examined by taking the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster as a case study. The genetic and evolutionary effects that ionizing radiation had on plants after the Chernobyl accident were highlighted. The response of biota to Chernobyl irradiation was a complex interaction among radiation dose, dose rate, temporal and spatial variation, varying radiation sensitivities of the different plants' species, and indirect effects from other events. Ionizing radiation causes water radiolysis, generating highly reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS induce the rapid activation of detoxifying enzymes. DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (DNA) is the object of an attack by both, the hydroxyl ions and the radiation itself, thus triggering a mechanism both direct and indirect. The effects on DNA are harmful to the organism and the long-term development of the species. Dose-dependent aberrations in chromosomes are often observed after irradiation. Although multiple DNA repair mechanisms exist, double-strand breaks (DSBs or DNA-DSBs) are often subject to errors. Plants DSBs repair mechanisms mainly involve homologous and non-homologous dependent systems, the latter especially causing a loss of genetic information. Repeated ionizing radiation (acute or chronic) ensures that plants adapt, demonstrating radioresistance. An adaptive response has been suggested for this phenomenon. As a result, ionizing radiation influences the genetic structure, especially during chronic irradiation, reducing genetic variability. This reduction may be associated with the fact that particular plant species are more subject to chronic stress, confirming the adaptive theory. Therefore, the genomic effects of ionizing radiation demonstrate their likely involvement in the evolution of plant species.
2020
Marco Ludovici, Gian; Oliveira de Souza, Susana; Chierici, Andrea; Cascone, MARIA GRAZIA; D'Errico, Francesco; Malizia, Andrea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1076990
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