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The dogs of Chernobyl are mostly descendants of the pets that were left behind by the residents who evacuated the area after the nuclear disaster in 1986
The dogs of Chernobyl are experiencing rapid evolution, according to a study that analyzed their DNA and compared them with other dogs living farther away from the power plant.
The study found that the dogs living near the power plant were more inbred and mostly German shepherds, while the dogs living in Chernobyl City and Slavutych were more diverse and resembled modern breeds
The study also found that the dogs of Chernobyl had unique genetic signatures that could reflect their adaptation to the harsh environment of radiation, cold temperatures and limited food.
The researchers hope that by studying the dogs of Chernobyl, they can understand how long-term radiation exposure affects DNA and health, and what traits help animals survive in such conditions.
The dogs of Chernobyl are not only subjects of scientific research, but also objects of humanitarian care. Several organizations have been working to provide veterinary services, vaccinations, sterilizations and adoptions for the dogs of Chernobyl.
However, this study provides a template for further investigation into the effects of radiation on larger mammals, as the DNA of dogs roaming the Chernobyl Power Plant and nearby Chernobyl City can be compared to dogs living in non-irradiated areas.