G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Metabolic and genomic characteristics of bank voles exposed to radionuclides (2022)
Radionuklideille altistuneiden metsämyyrien metaboliset ja genomiset ominaisuudet

Jernfors, T. (2022). Metabolic and genomic characteristics of bank voles exposed to radionuclides [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU dissertations, 507. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9108-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsJernfors, Toni


Journal or seriesJYU dissertations


Publication year2022

Number in series507

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (55 sivua, 79 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 4 numeroimatonta sivua)

PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9108-1

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


Organisms defend against external disturbances using various metabolic and genomic methods. Organisms experience stress when the disturbances grow severe enough to debilitate survival or reproduction. Low dose ionising radiation of environmental radionuclides is a form of contamination whose long-term metabolic and genomic effects on wild populations on the molecular level are not well understood. In this thesis I assess the metabolic and genomic consequences of inhabiting an environment polluted by radionuclides derived from the 1984 nuclear accident of Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) using techniques such as quantitative PCR, RNA-sequencing, 16S amplicon sequencing of gut microbiota, high precision liquid chromatography and gut tissue histology. I show that environmental radionuclides elicit expression changes in DNA repair mechanisms, fatty acid energy metabolism and mitochondrial function, which may facilitate oxidative balance. I also show that direct impact of radiation on the host rather than indirect effects through changes in gut microbiota composition better explain the observed metabolic changes. Moreover, bank voles exposed to radiation show immunosuppression and reduced mucus production in the colon, which may increase risk of infection. Furthermore, I show that voles exposed to radionuclides exhibit higher ribosomal DNA copy number, possibly improving genomic stability. Overall, inhabiting an environment contaminated by radionuclides possibly impacts metabolic and other regulatory mechanisms, causing diverse symptoms. Study of wildlife’s responses and its capabilities to survive anthropogenic disturbances continues to increase in importance along with increase in human population and land use.

KeywordsClethrionomys glareolusionising radiationexposurenuclidesfatty acidsmetabolismdoctoral dissertations

Free keywordsenvironmental stress; low dose ionising radiation; metabolism; ribosomal DNA; RNA-sequencing; short chain fatty acids

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 18:06