Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary A chromosomal survey using standard lymphocyte cultures employing different media and G-banding techniques was initiated in 1984. This study became particularly important following the tragic gaseous exposure of the population in Bhopal at midnight on 2 December 1984. We have been able to formulate a chromosomal profile for each person whom we have studied; during 1986–1988, 154 persons were examined twice. Among seemingly normal individuals, as many as 20% might possess some chromosomal abnormality; of these, 50% may develop, at a later date, some kind of pathological complication (such as tumours, recurrent abortion or transmission of defects to their offspring). The people exposed to methyl isocyanate have repeatedly shown Robertsonian translocations, mostly in acrocentric chromosomes 13 and 21. Other types of translocations have been studied among all exposed (53) and normal (101) persons; the involvement of chromosomes 5, 9, 11, 14 and 16 is statistically significant (P= 〈0.001). One of the major clinical symptoms is dyspnoea; we have estimated that almost all seriously dyspnoeic patients have developed at least two categories of chromosomal aberrations, one of which is Robertsonian translocation, in at least 10% metaphases. Our chromosomal survey will be of significance because we are able to identify people with chromosomal aberrations that might be correlated with future pathological consequences of the accident. The “chromosomal load” that can be sustained with an apparently normal phenotype can also be measured.
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