Authors
Panagopoulos DJ, Karabarbounis A, Margaritis LH (2004)

The aim of this study was to test the effect of RF radiation at 900 MHz, emitted by a GSM cell phone, on the reproductive capacity of the insect Drosophilia melanogaster. The radiation is emitted in pulses with a pulse repetition frequency of 217 Hz.

Newly emerged adult flies were placed in vials. They were exposed to the radiation by placing the antenna of a mobile phone outside the vials, in contact with the glass wall and parallel to the vial's axis. Three sets of experiments were carried out, and in each the exposure was for 6 minutes per day. Ten males and ten females were kept separate for the first 48 hours of life, by which time the females are ready to have their eggs fertilized and laid. In the first two experiments the 20 insects (10 male, 10 female) were then placed in a vial and radiated for 6 minutes on each of 5 days. A similar group was sham-exposed. In the first experiment the exposure was nonmodulated (nonspeaking mode). In the second it was modulated (speaking mode). In the third experiment the mobile phone was again operating in speaking mode, but the insects were separated into 4 groups, each one with 10 male and 10 female. In the first group, both male and female insects were exposed. In the second, only the females were exposed, and in the third only the males. The fourth group was sham-exposed. The exposures took place for 6 minutes daily for the first two days while they were separated, and there were no exposures in the next 3 days after they were joined together. The reproductive capacity was measured by counting the pupae on the walls of the vial.

The first experiment was repeated four times and in each case the exposed group had less pupae than the non-exposed. The mean difference was 18.24% (p< 0.005). In the second experiment the mean difference between the exposed and non-exposed groups was 53% (p<0.0001). In the third experiment, the combined male-female group showed 42.3% reduction in reproductive capacity, the female-only group 33.7% reduction, and the male-only group 11.99% decrease.

The authors hypothesize that the decrease in reproductive capacity could be due to decrease in cytosolic calcium ion concentration, which could affect DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis.

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