Mutant Wolves of Chernobyl Develop Apparent Cancer Immunity
By Ben Bartee - February 11, 2024

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

Via New York Post:

Mutant wolves that roam the human-free Chernobyl Exclusion Zone have developed cancer-resilient genomes that could be key to helping humans fight the deadly disease, according to a study…

Humans abandoned the area after the explosion leaked cancer-causing radiation into the environment, and a 1,000-square-mile zone was roped off to prevent further human exposure.

But in the nearly 38 years since the nuclear disaster, wildlife has reclaimed the area — including packs of wolves that seem to be unaffected by the chronic exposure to the radiation.”

Via The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology

“Love and colleagues went to the CEZ, radio-collared wolves, and took blood to understand the wolves’ responses to cancer-causing radiation. Using these specialty GPS collars armed with radiation dosimeters, “we get real time measurements of where they are and how much [radiation] they are exposed to,” said Love. They discovered that Chernobyl wolves are exposed to upwards of 11.28 millirem of radiation everyday for their entire lives, over 6 times the legal safety limit for the average human worker.

Unlike wolves living exclusively outside the CEZ, Love found that Chernobyl wolves have altered immune systems, similar to cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment. And most promising, she has identified specific regions of the wolf genome that seem resilient to increased cancer risk. Most human research has found mutations increasing cancer risk.”

Thus, life manages to adapt to even the harshest environments. Good on the ancestors of man’s best friends; wolves are magnificent creatures, so God bless them for not letting a little nuclear radiation do them in.

In the oddest bit of tourism I could have imagined, I visited Chernobyl in 2020, having been brought more or less by fate to within a couple of hours’ drive from the site, and wrote about it at the time — a surreal guided venture through:

·       the depopulated so-called exclusion zone (miles and miles of forests reclaimed by nature, now home to wild horses and wolves)

·       abandoned villages in the surrounding countryside full of houses with collapsed, rotting roofs

·       the new quasi-township built on the outskirts of the old city Chernobyl for research and tourism support (which pumps water through a giant pipeline from outside as the water from the area is still considered contaminated)

·       the infamous ghost town itself, home to the reactors

Inside Chernobyl proper, which was once a high-tech hub attracting scientists and their families from all over the Soviet Union, it looks as if time simply froze on April 26, 1986 as the residents were evacuated overnight, most of them never to return to collect their belongings.

Dolls and children’s clothes lay strewn on dusty floorboards. In one room of a gloomy Soviet-era apartment building that appeared to belong to a teenager, a Metallica poster hangs on the wall. Shopping carts sit rusting in what can still be made out as a grocery store. In a recreation area, cables connecting bumper cars to the ceiling are also covered in rust, as are the bumper cars themselves.

Rust everywhere.

If and when peace ever returns to Ukraine, I’d highly recommend the visit to behold what results from a toxic brew of human hubris and technology not properly respected.

I recently re-read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The lessons are all there, in literature and history, if anyone would heed them. Alas, as the Unabomber lamented, it seems there are no brakes on the crazytrain to humanity’s auto-annihilation.

RelatedWhat the Unabomber Got Right

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

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