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Report No. 104 - The Relative Biological Effectiveness of Radiations of Different Quality (1990)

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Report No. 104 constitutes an extensive evaluation of the literature on relative biological effectiveness (RBE) as a function of radiation quality for a wide spectrum of biological endpoints in a variety of species and experimental systems. The goal is the identification of patterns that would bear on the use of RBE values to establish the value of the quality factor for high-LET radiations. Emphasized are studies done at small absorbed doses or using larger absorbed doses delivered at low rates to ensure relevance to the dose and time pattern of exposure pertinent to radiation protection. The Report does not attempt to define values of quality factor but rather to provide the basis for such definition, namely the experimentally determined values of RBE. Surveyed are cytogenetic effects in plant, animal and human cells, transformation and mutation in mammalian cells in vitro, hereditary effects, including dominant lethal mutations, chromosome aberrations, reciprocal translocations induced in spermatogonia, mammalian germ cell mutagenesis, nonmammalian germ cell studies, experimental carcinogenesis, and life shortening in mice. The Report emphasizes that, for essentially all endpoints examined in eukaryotic systems, RBE values appear to increase as the dose decreases and as the dose rate decreases. The Report also points out that in a wide variety of systems, the RBE value of fast (fission) neutrons at low doses and dose rates appears to be of the order of 20 or more, similar to that for alpha particles.
Scientific Committee:
Victor P. Bond, Chairman

Seymour Abrahamson
John D. Boice, Jr.
R.J. Michael Fry
Douglas Grahn
Peter Groer
Eric J. Hall
George Hutchison
Gayle Littlefield
Charles W. Mays (deceased)
Harold Smith
Robert Ullrich
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