national

Fukushima caused mutant butterflies, say scientists

40 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2012 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
Login to comment

Sad story. We just won't know the whole picture about the effects of the radiation in our lifetime, I imagine.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The Return of Mothra.

2 ( +14 / -13 )

This article's title sounds like the tagline of a horror film.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Too soon to jump to conclusions? I think the results of their tests are pretty damn conclusive. There is no doubt that many species of fauna and flora have been effected by radiation. But, nuclear power is a good thing, right? Wrong!

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Unfortunately,it is reality of life here in Japan. The effects of radiation are, contrary to what Japanese researchers state, widely known. Chernobyl and Bikini atoll examples abound with graphic examples demonstrating the dangers. Unbelievably, it is national policy to transport and burn radioactive debris thus leading to the contamination of the whole of Japan. What kind of illogical deranged mind could possibly wish to increase the possibilities of genetic malformation in their own children? That is the horror story here!

5 ( +14 / -9 )

............... national policy to transport and burn radioactive debris ..............

Exactly where is radioactive debris being burnt?

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I wonder if there has been any increased incidents in birth defects related to this? I know it was only over a year ago, but that is enough time for women who may have gotten pregnant aftwards to may have suffered some affects. I hope that there isn't, but I also hope that if there were some increase in childhood cancers and other issues that could be related to this incident, that the J-Gov does the right thing and let the public know and not try to hide it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Apparently the same author released a paper a while back saying that this species of butterflies has only recently migrated to northern Japan (up to aomori), because of the recent rise of temperature in the Kanto area. They seemed to have been observing a rise in abnormalities on these butterflies in the norther area of Japan ever since, even before the nuclear crisis.

Source: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/252

1 ( +5 / -4 )

What other wild life including wild plants like mushrooms? Many wildlife will be affected by the radiation.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

including workers decommissioning the crippled plant, worry about the long-term effects.

To cut back on costs, TEPCO is reducing it's health programs.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

As a small boy in the USA the only thing I knew about Japan was "GODZILLA" me and my friends used to play being attacked... Maybe it won't turn out to have been just kids games.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Whatever they admit or release to the public, you just know it is going to be at least 3~5 times worse...

1 ( +8 / -7 )

No surprise. After Chernobyl many scientific studies have been made in the surrounding areas. It's pure luck which species get affected and how much, but radiation can and does cause serious problems and can lead to loads of birth defects and abnormalities. My guess is we'll first see more and more oddities in the plant and insect world (as we are seeing now), followed by smaller animals and then up and up to the big ones like us, deer and livestock. It's only a matter of time. I don't think we'll ever see huge affects far from the plants, but in Fukushima prefecture itself nothing would surprise me.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

but there is no immediate health risk.....

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

But some will come along to inform us there's no problem with radiation.....

1 ( +11 / -10 )

but there is no immediate health risk.....

Right! It's just like eating bananas...

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The repercussions of this is horrifying. We are artificially messing with mutation and evolution.

See basroil? This is what I meant when I said that nuclear radiation destroyed DNAs... It causes gene deletions and mutations.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

So if Mothera is back then it is only a matter of time till we see Godzilla and that means he will be headed to Tokyo...after all those are his favorite stomping grounds.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Poor butterflies... Just goes to show that the area is not safe. I think even Tokyo is affected, but the Japanese government is not revealing all the facts. This could lead to lawsuits later.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"The effects of radiation are, contrary to what Japanese researchers state, widely known. Chernobyl and Bikini atoll examples abound with graphic examples"

Do you think Japan has no experience of radiation? What were the impacts on the surrounding flora and fauna of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

One of them bit me! And now I am the butterfly man!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The absence of the name TEPCO in this article is unfair. The mutations were not caused by Fukushima, but by the source of the radiation. A better headline would read "TEPCO radiation caused mutant butterflies, say scientists"

0 ( +8 / -8 )

But Otaki warned it was too soon to jump to conclusions, saying his team’s results on the Fukushima butterflies could not be directly applied to other species, including humans.

Most transforming species including moths and flies are likely affected, but because they tend to turn to goo before becoming something else. Interestingly, the researchers have refused to state what abnormalities were found other than slightly smaller wings and eye issues. None of those abnormalities seem to affect the ability of the butterflies to reproduce, and thus the mutations carry over.

The DNA is never "destroyed", rather certain genes are turned off while others turned on. Considering that the amount of affected butterflies increased with a non-affected partner, it seems likely that it is some sort of generic feature already latent in the butterflies (either a recessive gene was activated doubly for them, or a dominant gene was introduced).

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Here we go, yet another basroil re-interpretation of the event.

basroil

The DNA is never "destroyed", rather certain genes are turned off while others turned on.

What are you talking about? Here you go again, talking about things you know nothing about... Perhaps "destroyed" is a bit hyperbolic. But it is true that if a double-strand break occurs when the radiation passes through the DNA, then it incorrectly repairs itself and that causes mutations and hence it basically is deleted from the code. Or maybe the whole cell can die especially when the irradiation is strong enough.

Deletion of DNA segments is the predominant form of radiation damage in cells that survive irradiation. It may be caused by (1) misrepair of two separate double-strand breaks in a DNA molecule with joining of the two outer ends and loss of the fragment between the breaks or (2) the process of cleaning (enzyme digestion of nucleotides--the component molecules of DNA) of the broken ends before rejoining to repair one double-strand break.

http://www.rerf.jp/radefx/basickno_e/radcell.htm

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Don't worry, peeps. I'm sure Edano will say it's not harmful to the butterflies.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@basroil

Your post has doesn't seem to be rooted in any sort of fact. You might want to google Chernobyl deformities so that you can see firsthand what is coming.....

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Let me know when they find ninja turtles.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Here we go, yet another basroil re-interpretation of the event.

My speed reading technique automatically skips all posts by Basroil. Enjoy your Mugi cha, etc. Butterflies...and the list grows. Glad I was finally able to get out last month. My family has been out since March 12, 2011. For those who can't leave, shop at Costco.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Pictures - or it didn't happen. And where is the link to the findings?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

kurisupisuAug. 15, 2012 - 12:50PM JST

Your post has doesn't seem to be rooted in any sort of fact. You might want to google Chernobyl deformities so that you can see firsthand what is coming.....

This is Fukushima, Chernobyl is off topic due to a 10x difference in radiation.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Pictures - or it didn't happen. And where is the link to the findings?

http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120809/srep00570/full/srep00570.html

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As with everything else, I try to get as much info as possible, so I went to various Japanese forums/blogs/websites. The author of the nature paper above is Mr. Otaki, he is actually a homeopathy specialist, and has been quoted saying things like "statistically speaking, immunization never work", and that his methods on this butterfly research is questionable ... not sure if the Japanese public are in denial or what, but it seems that they are trying to discredit him with the above facts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kiboushaAug. 15, 2012 - 03:44PM JST

The author of the nature paper above is Mr. Otaki, he is actually a homeopathy specialist, and has been quoted saying things like "statistically speaking, immunization never work"

That is something interesting. I guess he hasn't seen polio wiped from civilized countries and TB also mostly gone.

Here's an interesting thing they had though:

To experimentally reproduce the abnormal phenotypes obtained from the field and in the breeding experiments, we artificially exposed larvae and pupae that were obtained from females caught in Okinawa to radiation from 137Cs, one of the major radionuclides released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP, up to 55 mSv (0.20 mSv/h) or 125 mSv (0.32 mSv/h).

200-320 microSv/h was used, where the highest recorded rates outside of the plant limits were a third of that, and outside the primary exclusion zone is a tenth. That's like saying that you should test the toxicity effects of poison by making it ten times stronger, of course you will get results that are exaggerated.

Interestingly, they even state that the damage was likely not prominently DNA in the radiation affected area samples:

It appears difficult to distinguish physiological and genetic adverse effects on the basis of morphological examination. Malformations of appendages and wing colour-pattern aberrations were observed in the field-collected first-voltine adults and in the irradiated adults. Thus, these abnormalities are due to physiological effects of radiation.

And state that the genetic changes were usually minor if even present:

Throughout this study, many abnormal traits were asymmetric, and abnormal traits detected in offspring were not necessarily identical to those of their parents. It is probable that these results were obtained because the expressivity of mutant phenotypes was not high.

While you cannot discredit an article due to a single author of many, it can raise suspicions. The fact that they didn't take into account internal sources was probably the biggest issue, as larva eat quite a bit of leaves, which happen to also be the most contaminated section of the ecosystem.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Fukushima caused mutant butterflies, say scientists

You aren't seen anything yet....although they are the first biota to openly show visible undisputable radiation effects, butterflies are not the only living things in the fukushima ecosystem......

2 ( +2 / -0 )

kibousha

Thanks for providing evidence that the same mutations were already occurring, was an interesting read.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@gaijinfo

The Return of Mothra.

That's exactly the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the headline. Rather than damaged eyes I was expecting to read about a 200m span fiant butterfly heading for a south pacific island inhabited by dancing natives and tiny twins.

On a more serious note, I'm assuming this mutation was caused by the caterpillars eating irradiated grass and other plant matter?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thunderbird2Aug. 15, 2012 - 05:43PM JST

On a more serious note, I'm assuming this mutation was caused by the caterpillars eating irradiated grass and other plant matter?

As I have stated, the authors specifically state that they do not consider that in their current findings.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

For mohra we will need 2 beauties preferably twins.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ninja mutant butterflies!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

least its not muntant turtles xD

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites