Chernobyl radiation has changed the DNA of dogs that lived in the vicinity of the nuclear central power plant, after the accident are genetically distinct from specimens that are located a few kilometers apart. David Brenner, a radiation biophysicist at Columbia University in New York City, explained: "It's really hard to understand the effects of this type of exposure, but it's really important to get answers." Elaine Ostrander added: "The continued presence of dogs in the area demonstrates that the species was able to survive and reproduce despite the radioactive conditions, which is quite remarkable.
We will carry out other samplings." Timothy Mousseau explained: "The detailed knowledge of the genetic history of these animals provides an ideal focus for future studies in this direction."
Chernobyl radiation has changed the DNA of dogs
The results of the study was revealed by a study, published in the journal Science Advances, conducted by scientists at the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
The team, led by Elaine Ostrander and Timothy Mousseau, drew blood from the wild animals that currently inhabit the area. Over a period of about three years, the researchers collected samples from about 300 dogs that lived at the power plant and around the mostly deserted city of Chernobyl.
After the events of 1986, the Soviet authorities urged the population to evacuate the radioactive area. Many scientists had expressed concern that animals affected by nuclear waste residues could expand and spread the nuclear risk.
In fact, experts have shown that the Chernobyl dog population has been isolated from other dog populations for decades, so much so that DNA tests have shown that the dogs in the area were directly descended from dogs present in the area during or shortly after the Chernobyl attack.
reactor accident. This work was done as part of a larger project to determine how man's best friend adapted to survive in one of the most radioactive places on the planet. The knowledge gained, the authors comment, could prove useful in estimating the effects of long-term radiation exposure on genetics and human health.
The consequences deriving from low levels of radiation are in fact still the subject of heated debates in the scientific community. Photo Credits: Pic by AFP