Ionizing radiation and genetic risks VII. The concept of mutation component and its use in risk estimation for Mendelian diseases

R. Chakraborty, N. Yasuda, C. Denniston, K. Sankaranarayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The responsiveness of Mendelian diseases to an increase in the mutation rate is studied by using the concept of the mutation component (MC) of genetic diseases. Algebraic expressions to evaluate MC at any specific generation following either a one-time or a permanent increase in mutation rate are derived and are illustrated with numerical examples. For a one-time increase in mutation rate, the analysis shows that the first generation MC for autosomal dominant diseases is equal to the selection coefficient; this is also true for X-linked diseases (adjusted for the proportion of X- chromosomes in males). For autosomal recessive diseases the first generation MC is substantially smaller than that for autosomal dominants. In subsequent generations MC gradually decays to zero. Under conditions of a permanent increase in the mutation rate, the MC for autosomal dominant, X-linked and completely recessive autosomal disorders progressively increases to reach a value of one at the new equilibrium. For incompletely recessive autosomal disorders, however, the MC at equilibrium can be larger than one. The rates of approach to the new equilibrium are different for the different classes of diseases, dictated by selection and time (in generations) following radiation exposure. The effects of increases in mutation rate on MC are more pronounced for autosomal dominants, followed by X-linked and are far less for autosomal recessives. Even for autosomal dominants, the early generation effects of radiation exposures would not be appreciable unless the heterozygotes have a severely reduced fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-552
Number of pages12
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 25 May 1998


  • Genetic risk
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Mendelian disease
  • Mutation component


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