As a result, the human race is genetically mutating, according to Japanese geneticist Yusaku Nakabeppu of Kyushu University and his team, who released their findings Monday in the trade journal Genome Research.
"Our findings suggest that (oxidation) is one of the main causes of frequent recombinations and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the human genome, which largely contribute to the genomic diversity in human beings," the Japanese research team concluded.
The changes in chemical pairing so the base pairs in human DNA -- adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine -- sometimes cluster in one area of the DNA sequence. Recently, however, scientists were unsure of why until Nakabeppu and his team found a causal link between 8-oxoG and clusters of sequence variations in the human genome.
The Japanese research team did not note the specific environmental factors causing the mutation, and this data was not part of their research. However, the study established that the change is not happening in a closed system. According to the article the Japanese team just published, the scientists agree with previous studies that have seen exposure to ionizing radiation and other environmental causes as genetic threats.
The Japanese researchers used genetic material from two healthy men and two healthy women -- all unrelated genetically -- in the study just published in the genome Research article, although Scientific American originally disclosed Genome Research's release of the findings just recently as well.