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A study of barn swallows has yielded more evidence that contamination from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine caused inherited genetic damage.

Last year, researchers reported studies in people and rodents called voles that suggested the radiation caused mutations that were passed on to offspring. The mutations in humans did not affect health.

In the new work, scientists compared barn swallows captured around Chernobyl in 1991 and 1996 with those found elsewhere in Ukraine and in museum specimens. White feathers, caused by genetic mutations, appeared in 13 to 15 percent of Chernobyl swallows versus 2 percent or less in swallows from other sites or museums.

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