ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2013, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 18–27. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2013.
Original Russian Text © E.V. Antonova, E.M. Karimullina, V.N. Pozolotina, 2013, published in Ekologiya, 2013, No. 1, pp. 20–29.
The impact of ionizing radiation on living orga
nisms is modified by various factors (Vilenchik, 1991;
Petin, Zhurakovskaya, and Komarova, 2012). Expo
sure to low radiation doses in combination with other
factors may have antagonistic, additive, or synergistic
effects (Geras’kin et al., 2005; Burkhardt, Internicola,
and Bernasconi, 2009), and what we observe in nature
is an integrated response of organisms to the entire
complex of relevant factors. The ecological approach
to studies on the consequences of longterm radiation
exposure for the biota makes it necessary to take into
account different types of intraspecific variation in the
response to radiation and evaluation of the interaction
of factors acting in different combinations (Pozolo
The Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT),
which was formed after the 1957 nuclear accident at
the Mayak Radiochemical Plant, is a unique test range
for assessing the consequences of chronic radiation
exposure for living organisms. Radioactive
tracer for radionuclides released during the accident.
Ten years after the accident, this territory was con
taminated again by radioactive silt and sand trans
ferred by wind from the shore of shallowed Lake
Karachay (reservoir V9 for liquid radioactive wastes),
being the tracer radionuclide. Several vil
lages in the frontal part of the EURT were relocated,
and the Eastern Ural State Reserve was established in
this area (Nikipelov et al., 1989).
Genetic effects of chronic radiation exposure in
different plant species from the EURT zone are
described in numerous publications, including papers
from our laboratory. They concern the levels of chro
mosome aberrations, allozyme diversity in cenopopu
lations of model species, and the frequencies of muta
tions and nonheritable modifications in the seed prog
eny of plants from the EURT (Shevchenko,
Pechkurenkov, and Abramov, 1992; Kal’chenko,
Rubanovich, and Shevchenko,1995; Lysenko,
Kal’chenko, and Shevchenko, 1999; Pozolotina,
2003; Antonova and Pozolotina, 2007; Pozolotina
et al., 2008; Pozolotina, Antonova, and Karimullina,
2010; Abramov, Stepanova, and Famelis, 2010).
However, taking into account the variety of ecoge
netic characteristics of plants, it is apparent that new
species should be involved in radioecological research.
Intraspecific Variation in
along a Radioactive
Contamination Gradient at the Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace
E. V. Antonova, E. M. Karimullina, and V. N. Pozolotina
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received January 18, 2012
—Specific ecogenetic features of plants and parameters of seed progeny have been studied in
cenopopulations from test plots established along the radioactive contamination gradient in the
zone of the Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT), where absorbed radiation doses in buffer and impact
plots exceeded the background level by factors of 2–18 and 330–418, respectively. It has been shown that
interannual variation in parameters characterizing the viability of seed progeny largely depends on fluctua
tions of weather conditions. This dependence is more distinct in cenopopulations from the EURT than in
control samples, which is indicative of interaction between radiation and other relevant ecological factors.
The radioresistance of seed progeny is contingent on its viability, being independent of radiation load at the
sites of maternal plant growth. Hermaphrodite plants occur only in irradiated
This character is inherited: all
descendants of such plants grown in a vegetation experiment had herma
phrodite flowers. The mutability of seed progeny formed in the EURT zone exceeds the background level.
The occurrence and frequencies of recorded anomalies has proved to vary by years and, therefore, can be
interpreted as nonheritable modifications.
: Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT), absorbed radiation doses, ERICA Tool,
, chronic radiation exposure, weather conditions, radiobiological effects, intraspecific variation, her