Chernobyl worms were examined.  An interesting discovery for scientists

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster turned the region into the most contaminated area on Earth – and radiation levels are still high in many places almost forty years later. Residents were evacuated, However, many plants and animals still live in the area.

In recent years, researchers have discovered that some animals living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – a 2,600-square-kilometre area in northern Ukraine within a 30-kilometre radius of the plant – They are physically and genetically different from their counterparts in other parts of the country. Hence questions arose about the effect of radiation on DNA. Did a sudden change in the environment lead to the selection of species, or even individuals within a species, that are naturally more resistant to ionizing radiation?

A new study by Sofia Tintori's team at New York University, in collaboration with scientists in Ukraine, shows that chronic radiation exposure at Chernobyl did not damage the simple genomes of the microscopic worms that now live there – the nematodes. As the authors emphasize, This does not mean that the area has become safe, Instead, it suggests that worms that reproduce rapidly have exceptional resistance.

“These worms live everywhere and live fast, so they go through dozens of generations of evolution before a typical vertebrate reaches sexual maturity.”

Matthew Rockman, a professor of biology at New York University and lead author of the study, said:

In their analyses, the scientists focused on 15 nematodes of the type Oscheius tipulae. They serialized it Genomes of 15 Chernobyl worms They compared them to the genomes of five individuals of this species from other parts of the world.

Although several different analysis methods are used No radiation damage could be detected In the genomes of Chernobyl worms.

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