Relationship between Nuclear Volumes, Chromosome Numbers, and Relative Radiosensitivities

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Science  12 Jul 1963:
Vol. 141, Issue 3576, pp. 163-166
DOI: 10.1126/science.141.3576.163


An inverse relationship between a volume estimated to be associated with interphase chromosomes and acute lethal exposure to x-or gamma radiation has been found in 16 plant species. The apparent differences in radiosensitivities found would seem spurious, since the estimated average energy absorbed in the nucleus per chromosome (3.6 x 106 ev) approaches a constant (variation less than fourfold) in spite of wide ranges of lethal exposures (0.6 to 75 kr), of nuclear volumes (43 to 1758 µ3), and of somatic chromosome numbers (6 to 136). The regression line obtained can be used to predict the radiosensitivities of other plant species if their nuclear volumes and chromosome numbers are known.