Butterflies near Fukushima show genetic mutations

Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Scientists now fear the radiation could affect other species.

Around 12% of the butterflies that were exposed to nuclear fallout had abnormalities, including smaller wings and damaged eyes.

The insects were mated in a laboratory outside the fallout zone and 18% of their offspring displayed similar problems.

That figure rose to 34% in the third-generation of butterflies even though one parent from each coupling was from an unaffected population.

The tsunami of March 2011 knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing a meltdown in the world's worst atomic disaster for 25 years.

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