Chernobyl nuclear disaster altered the genetics of abandoned dogs
A study showed that dogs in the area of the power plant look genetically different from dogs in the city of Chernobyl
Despite the fact that the human population left the surroundings of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the explosion registered in 1986, some populations of dogs remained there and currently show genetic differences.
According to a study published March 3 in Science Advances, scientists have discovered that dogs living in the industrial zone of the plant are genetically different from those living further away.
The team of researchers collected blood samples from these dogs to analyze their DNA , allowing the researchers to map their complex family structures.
Although their work revealed that dogs in the area of the power plant look genetically different from dogs in the city of Chernobyl , some 15 kilometers away, the team does not know whether or not radiation caused these differences. Dogs can be genetically different simply because they live in a relatively isolated area.
The research explains that the dogs still living in the exclusion zone are likely descended from abandoned pets when residents of the area around the Chernobyl power plant precipitously fled the region, leaving behind all their belongings, including their companions. four-legged
Many of the effects that researchers have observed in dogs and other animals parallel those seen in the past with survivors of Japan's atomic bombing during World War II. For example, cataract rates have increased , because the eyes are the first tissues to show signs of chronic exposure to ionizing radiation. Scientists also look for other developmental abnormalities, such as tumors, smaller brains, and changes in symmetry.
The wide genomic variations within the Chernobyl exclusion zone and between different geographic locations suggest that dogs live close to each other, move from place to place and reproduce freely, according to the study.
How have dogs survived?
The dogs have lived in the area since the catastrophe, fed by Chernobyl cleanup workers and tourists. Some 250 stray dogs lived in and around the plant, among the spent fuel processing facilities and in the shadow of the derelict reactor. Hundreds more roam the exclusion zone, an area the size of Yosemite National Park.