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Mutant wolves living in Chernobyl disaster are evolving ability to fight cancer
8 February 2024, 22:46
Mutant wolves living in the wasteland of the Chernobyl disaster appear to be evolving the ability to fight cancer.
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The genetic mutation monitored in the wolves' altered immune system could give cancer patients a chance of surviving the disease, researchers believe.
Humans fled the disaster zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant after the deadly explosion in 1986, and have remained away from the area due to the extreme levels of radiation.
But while humans have deserted the area, animals, including bears, bison, lynx, foxes, wolves, and more than 200 million species of bird now roam the land.
The area still contains six times the allowed exposure for human working conditions, measuring 11.28 millrem of radiation.
A group of researchers from Princeton University set out in 2014 to understand how animals were able to survive in the radiation zone.
The team took blood samples from wolves and placed GPS collars on the animals that could measure the radiation.
By measuring the genetic differences between the DNA of the wolves exposed to the radiation, the team found the animals proved resilient to the cancerous atmosphere and its effects.