Hereditary Effects of Radiation

Radiation that damages the DNA of germ cells in the gonads can cause gene mutations. These mutations increase with dose. Similar to the late somatic effects, there will not be new mutations, but an increased frequency of spontaneous mutations. Mutations in the male germ cells are higher than in the female germ cells. It appears, however, that the rate of mutations is reduced as the time between exposure and conception increases.5,6,8,11