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Chernobyl radiation leads to skin colour change in frogs: study

Chernobyl radiation leads to skin colour change in frogs: study

Eastern tree frogs in Ukraine have undergone a rapid evolutionary stage since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. The radiation has caused them to now have black skin as opposed to their earlier green skin.

Experts found that the tree frogs living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone have considerably darker skin than the frogs living outside the zone.

The study titled "Ionising radiation and melanism in Chernobyl tree frogs" published in the journal Evolutionary Applications says the skin colour change is darker in areas close to the highest radiation levels at the time of the accident. Current levels of radiation do not seem to influence the skin colour of tree frogs.

The authors of the study said that the explosion of reactor number four at the Chernobyl Plant sent airborne radioactive contaminants throughout the majority of Europe. These isotopes can affect air, water, and biological tissue by removing electrons from atoms and molecules. These can easily damage the DNA and cause genetic mutations.

Findings suggest that dark colouration in living beings is known to protect against radiation by unstable molecules and reduce DNA damage. Melanin pigmentation is a buffering mechanism against ionising radiation.

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TAGS:tree frogsChernobylChernoby tree frogsChernobyl frogs
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