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Mutant Butterflies are found near Fukushima

A group of Japanese researchers discovered that butterflies in the Fukushima area have high rates of mutation.

The researchers found a wide range of abnormalities in some butterflies. Time reports that the mutant butterflies have stunted wings, altered color patterns and problems with legs, eyes, etc.

The mutant butterflies were linked to the Fukushima nuclear plant accident after the area was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

“These observations of mutations and morphological abnormalities can only be explained as having resulted from exposure to radioactive contaminants,” Dr Tim Mousseau, a biologist but was not a part of the research team, told BBC News.

The research group also found that the succeeding generations of butterflies showed higher mutation rate than the ones found sooner after the accident.

A separate study measured cesium levels in people who lived close to the Fukushima plant and found that the levels of radioactivity in the subjects were low.

“No case of acute health problems has been reported so far; however, assessments of the long-term effect of radiation requires ongoing monitoring of exposure and the health conditions of the affected communities,” the report said, according to The Associated Press.

Despite the findings, the effects of the contaminants on humans still remain unclear.

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