Janet's Conner

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

VIETNAM VETS SUFFERED GENETIC DAMAGE: STUDY




Wellington: New Zealand troops exposed to the defoilant Agent Orange in the Vietnam War suffered significant genetic damage, according to a study by university molecular scientists released on Friday.

US forces used Agent Orange to strip away jungle foilage to make it harder for communist fighters to hide during th war.

The chemicals have been blamed for a range of illnesses, birth defect and other health problems among the Vietnamese people and troops who fought there.

The New Zealand study investigated the rate of "sister chromatid exchange" in veterans' cells, a test that analyses the way chromosomes self-replicate.

A comparatively higher level of sister chromatid exchange identified in the study indicated genetic damage, according to Massey University researcher Al Rowland, although he said more extensive study is needed.

The study of 25 veterans was compared with a control group of former servicemen who did not serve in Vietnam.

Rowland said the impact of smoking, alcohol consumption and the use of medical X-rays was taken into account.

"We don't know what causes the results that we see but all we know is that this group went to Vietnam and something happened," he said.


gulfnews.com
July 28, 2006

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