Mutant butterflies in Japan
Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies from near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, scientists said yesterday, raising fears that radiation could affect other species.
Around 12% of the pale grass blue butterflies exposed to nuclear radiation as larvae immediately after the tsunami-wrecked the Fukushima plant had abnormalities, including smaller wings and damaged eyes, researchers said.
The insects were mated in a laboratory well outside the danger zone and 18% of their offspring displayed similar problems, said Joji Otaki, associate professor at Ryukyu University in Okinawa.
That figure rose to 34% in the third generation of butterflies, he said, even though one parent from each coupling was from an unaffected population.