Chernobyl worms are also found to be radiation resistant

Last month a species of gray wolf in Chernobyl was found to have anti-cancer abilities. Despite nearly 40 years of exposure to levels of radioactivity dangerous to humans, the Chernobyl wolves showed no damage at the cellular level. This week researchers from NYU announced the discovery of a worm species in Chernobyl with similar abilities.

Samples of Oscheius tipulae worms taken in the exclusion zone with high levels of radioactivity were compared with samples of Oscheius tipulae from outside the zone. When the genome sequences of the two worm samples were compared, no differences could be seen. No damage to the gene was detected that caused cancer.

Scientists now believe worms in the exclusion zone have the same cancer-fighting abilities as gray wolves. Because worms have only a shorter life span than mammals, they have undergone more mutation and evolutionary processes that cause radiation to have no impact.

With this discovery scientists can study how Oscheius tipulae avoids damage to genes despite exposure to radiation. It is hoped that this can be used to treat or prevent cancer in humans in the future.

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