A new study examined the DNA of 302 stray canines near the power station to those 10 miles distant and discovered surprising alterations.
The study doesn't prove radiation causes these variations
it's a crucial first step in examining these irradiated populations and comparing them to other canines.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in northern Ukraine—then part of the Soviet Union—exploded on April 26, 1986, spewing radiation into the sky
Nearly four decades later, the Chernobyl Power Plant and much of the surrounding area are still unoccupied by humans.
Without humans, all animals have prospered. Thousands of feral canines, many of whom are descendants of pets abandoned during the rapid evacuation, live among radiation-resistant animals.
As the world's worst nuclear disaster approaches its 40th anniversary,
biologists are studying animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ), about the size of Yosemite National Park,
to determine how decades of radiation exposure may have altered their genomes and sped up evolution.