Nuclear radiation that damages a
cell can produce mutations in the cell. Which of the following statements
correctly describes the most severe possible effects on a person whose cells are
mutated by nuclear radiation? (A) The person is temporarily sick
until their body grows replacement cells. (B) The person develops fatal
cancer. (C) The person develops
This question asks us to identify
the most severe possible effects on a person whose cells have been mutated by
nuclear radiation. To do this, we need to recall what
happens when cells are damaged by nuclear radiation.
Nuclear radiation can transfer
energy to the cells of a living organism. This can result in damage to the
DNA of the cell, also known as a mutation. The mutation of a cell means that
its DNA has been altered. Damage to the DNA of a cell may
cause the cell to become cancerous.
A normal cell will make copies of
itself or replicate itself as an organism needs new cells over time. A cancerous cell will replicate at
a faster rate than normal cells do, creating even more cancerous cells. Eventually, this rapid growth may
lead to the development of a tumor. The tumor may eventually be fatal
to the person.
If nuclear radiation damages
certain cells in an organism, then offspring of that organism may have mutations
too. This is because the DNA of the
offspring comes from their parents. Many mutations go unnoticed, but
some may cause visible deformities or abnormal development that affects the
We have said that deformities are
not necessarily fatal to an organism. Hence, option (C) will not be the
most severe effect on a person whose cells are mutated by nuclear radiation.
We have said that normal cells
replicate themselves as a body needs new cells over time. The body can replace cells that are
killed by nuclear radiation. This is why for option (A), the
person is only temporarily sick. If a person is temporarily sick,
this option cannot be the most severe effect.
Hence, the correct answer is option
(B). The person develops fatal