A comparison of six statistical distributions for analysis of chromosome aberration data for radiation biodosimetry

Elizabeth A. Ainsbury*, Volodymyr A. Vinnikov, Nataliya A. Maznyk, David C. Lloyd, Kai Rothkamm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The Poisson distribution is the most widely recognised and commonly used distribution for cytogenetic radiation biodosimetry. However, it is recognised that, due to the complexity of radiation exposure cases, other distributions may be more properly applied. Here, the Poisson, gamma, negative binomial, beta, Neyman type-A and Hermite distributions are compared in terms of their applicability to 'real-life' radiation exposure situations. The identification of the most appropriate statistical model in each particular exposure situation more correctly characterises data. The results show that for acute, homogeneous (whole-body) exposures, the Poisson distribution can still give a good fit to the data. For localised partial-body exposures, the Neyman type-A model was found to be the most robust. Overall, no single distribution was found to be universally appropriate. A distribution-specific method of analysis of cytogenetic data is therefore recommended. Such an approach may lead potentially to more accurate biological dose estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-267
Number of pages15
JournalRadiation Protection Dosimetry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the UK Royal Society [project number JP080153], and the National Institute for Health Research centre for research in health protection at the Health Protection Agency. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health.


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