"Mutant Butterflies Found Near Fukushima"

"Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster might have increased the rate of mutation in one species susceptible to environmental changes."

"No matter how you cut it, finding mutant butterflies is hard to spin as a positive result. But the knowledge gained from the pale grass blue butterfly, a.k.a. Zizeeria maha, could potentially help down the road as the country recovers from one of the world’s worst nuclear power disasters.

According to a study published by Scientific Reports, researchers started looking at butterflies near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant two months after the March 2011 tsunami damaged the reactors, causing a potential radiation leak. Of the initial 100 butterflies studied, 12% had mutations. But as the butterflies mated, the rate of mutation in successive generations increased to 34%, showing that the mutating genes were easily passed along to offspring."

Tim Newcomb reports for TIME August 14, 2012.

Source: TIME, 08/15/2012