Dubbing the result of the present study as "interesting" and "significant", University of Manchester's David Polya said it provides a means of potentially identifying people who are at a greater risk of developing ill health from arsenic exposure, in much the same way that some people are more genetically pre-disposed to, say, breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
"Of course, the causes of diseases are often multi-faceted, so it is likely that mapping other contributing factors will be critical to being able to make more accurate and meaningful risk estimates," Polya told IANS via email.
Polya, a professor of environmental geochemistry in the School of Earth, Atmospheric & Environment had worked in collaboration with IICB scientists in 2013 to prove a link between rice containing high levels of arsenic and chromosomal damage.
What has puzzled researchers is that in some highly exposed communities only a certain proportion of the people seem to develop these diseases, Polya pointed out.
"It has been speculated that this might be because some people are unfortunately more genetically pre-disposed to develop such diseases as a result of long-term exposure to arsenic," Polya told IANS.