Research row

an international study on genetic mutations in people living in the high-radiation coastal belts of southern Kerala has hit the headlines. But for all the wrong reasons. Scientists who conducted the study have not followed guidelines issued by the Union government on transfer of biological data outside the country.

The principal investigators of the research are Lucy Forster and Peter Forster of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, associated with the University of Cambridge, uk. They collected the saliva of 998 people living in the Charava-Neendakara coastal belt and neighbouring low-radiation areas in Kollam district of Kerala. Research was conducted in the uk to study point mutations occurring in the mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (dna). The tiny stretch of the coastline has one of the highest levels of natural radiation in the world, thanks to radioactive thorium found in the monazite sands in the region (see: