Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Scientists are surprised by the discovery of dogs in Chernobyl: “It was a milestone for us”;

More than 35 years after the nuclear accident in Chernobyl, Ukraine – the biggest disaster of this type in history – one can find in the surroundings of the closed plant and in the abandoned buildings a significant number of dogs that roam the place. These animals captured the hearts of scientists, who began to analyze them in the hope of teaching humans how to survive in a hostile and abusive environment.

In one of these studies, the results of which came to light last Friday, scientists carried out a series of genetic analyzes on some 302 dogs that roamed the so-called Chernobyl “exclusion zone”. Scientists have previously discovered that these animals, which were subjected to different levels of radiation exposure, were genetically different from other dogs in other parts of the world.

This is the first in a long series of genetic studies on these animals that appeared in the journal Science Advances. “We had this opportunity to lay the foundations to answer a crucial question: “What do you do in such a hostile environment to survive for 15 generations?” Institute one of the study’s writers.

Some of the dogs living in the Exclusion Zone may be descendants of pets left behind during the 1986 evacuation, while others arrived by accident.

Tim Mousseau, another study author, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, said dogs “provide an incredible tool for looking at the impact of this kind of environment” on mammals in general.

On April 26, 1986, an explosion and subsequent fire at the Reactor Number IV plant in the Chernobyl region, 16 kilometers from the city of Pripyat, in northern Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, caused the release of radioactive dust into the environment. This contamination lasted for days, spreading radioactive material for many kilometers around the incident site. The exclusion zone reached a radius of 1600 square kilometers from the plant.

After the explosion, about thirty workers died immediately. But over the years it has been estimated that the mortality from radioactive poisoning could – and could – have reached thousands of victims.

This file photo taken on December 8, 2020 shows a general view of the Chernobyl nuclear plant and the giant protective structure built over the coffin of the destroyed reactorGENYA SAVILOV – AFP.

Researchers believe that the dogs in these studies are the descendants of those who were left behind by their owners when they left the area after the disaster. In fact, the Ministry of the Interior of Ukraine, led by the Kremlin, had ordered all care to be euthanized. But many animals avoided this institution with death.

However, after the inhumane nuclear disaster, the dogs seem to have done quite well. Currently, according to a census research project by Chernobyl Dog published in the Spanish newspaper El País, there are more than 800 wild dogs in the area. “Anything we can learn about how dogs survive in that environment will have direct relevance to humans in Chernobyl and other radioactive environments,” Mousseau told the outlet.

The dogs of Chernobyl are quite different from dogs in other parts of the world

This scientist has worked in the disaster area since the late 1990s. In 2017, dogs began to take blood from these samples. Some of them live inside the plant, surrounded by an apocalyptic industrial environment. Others are between 15 and 45 kilometers from the epicenter of the disaster.

It was surprising that the DNA of these animals could easily distinguish between the dogs that were in the high, low and medium radiation zones. “It’s a big milestone for us,” said Ostrender, who added another significant achievement: “It’s amazing that we can identify about 15 different families of these animals.”

From this first analysis, the researchers can devote themselves to looking for the types of mutations that the dog’s DNA exhibits. “We can compare and say: let’s look at the differences, what’s changed, what’s changed, what’s evolved, what’s helpful, what’s harmful at the DNA level,” Ostrander told the Associated Press. To do this, scientists will have to distinguish between beneficial mutations and mutations in the genome.

A stray dog ​​near the Chernobyl nuclear plant on

According to the researchers, the findings of these studies could have many applications. Especially when it comes to providing information about how humans and other mammals live in countries now and in the future under “continuous environmental assault”, such as in the high radiation environment of space.

Continued research will require scientists to spend more time with the dogs at the site, about 100 kilometers from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Although the country is waging war against the Russian population, Mousseau said that he and his colleagues were on site in October and saw no war.

Scientists Studied Chernobyl Dogs Loved ThemClean Future

Even the scientist dared to talk about the tender side of the research, noting that many of the team members had made friends with dogs. One of these was also named Prancer, which translates to “Jalitus” in Spanish, because of the way it jumps around the researchers every time they approach it.

“Although they are free, they still enjoy interacting with people. Especially when the food appears,” said the American scientist.

When pushing data from the Associated Press

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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