Chernobyl fallout could drive evolution of 'space plants'
点击量： 时间：2019-03-01 07:19:01
By Ewen Callaway More than two decades after the world’s largest nuclear disaster, life around Chernobyl continues to adapt. “There are no dogs with two heads,” says Martin Hajduch of the Slovak Academy of Sciences – although birds, insects and humans have all been affected to a greater or lesser extent by radioactive fallout. To determine how plants might have adapted to the meltdown, Hajduch’s team compared soya grown in radioactive plots near Chernobyl with plants grown about 100 kilometres away in uncontaminated soil. Compared to the plants grown in normal soil, the Chernobyl soya produced significantly different amounts of several dozen proteins, the team found. Among those are proteins that contribute to the production of seeds, as well as proteins involved in defending cells from heavy metal and radiation damage. “One protein is known to actually protect human blood from radiation,” Hajduch says. For this study, his team looked at just the first generation of soya grown in Chernobyl soil, but they plan to examine a second generation of seeds. After the 1986 meltdown, it took plants several generations to fully adapt to the new conditions, Hajduch says. Determining how plants coped with life after Chernobyl could help scientists engineer radiation-resistant plants, Hajduch says. While few farmers are eager to cultivate radioactive plots on Earth, future interplanetary travellers may need to grow crops to withstand space radiation. Journal reference: Journal of Proteome Research (DOI: 10.1021/pr900034u) More on these topics: