In this study we investigated the use of a DNA dosimeter to accurately measure changes in ultraviolet B radiation (UVBR; 280–315 nm) under Antarctic ozone hole conditions. Naked DNA solution in quartz tubes was exposed to ambient solar radiation at Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, between October and December 1998 for 3 h during UVBR peak hours (1200–1500 h).
Trends in UVBR-mediated DNA damage (formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers [CPD]) were related to cloud cover, ozone-column depth and spectroradiometric measurements of ambient radiation. Ozone-column depths ranged from 130 to 375 DU during the study period, resulting in highly variable UVBR doses, from 1.6 to 137 kJ m−2 over the 3 h exposure, as measured by spectroradiometry.
There was a strong positive correlation (86%) between dosimeter CPD concentrations and DNA-weighted UVBR doses. Ozone depth was a strong predictor of DNA damage (63%), and there was no significant relationship between CPD formation and cloud cover. Subtle changes in spectral characteristics caused by ozone depletion were detected by the biodosimeter; the highest CPD concentrations were observed in October when ozone-mediated shifts favored shorter wavelengths of UVBR.
We conclude that the DNA biodosimeter is an accurate indicator of biologically effective UVBR, even under highly variable ozone conditions.
George, A.L., Peat, H.J. and Buma, A.G., 2002. Evaluation of DNA Dosimetry to Assess Ozone‐Mediated Variability of Biologically Harmful Radiation in Antarctica. Photochemistry and photobiology, 76(3), pp.274-280.
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