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years after the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine
— the worst in history — scientists are reporting insights into the
mystery of how plants have managed to adapt and survive in the
radioactive soil near Chernobyl. Their research is the first to probe
how production of key proteins in plants changes in response to the
radioactive environment, according to the report. It is scheduled for
the June 5 issue of ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication.
Hajduch and colleagues note in the new study that plants growing in the
Chernobyl area following the April 26, 1986 disaster somehow adapted to
the radioactive environment and thrived. But until now, nobody knew
what biochemical changes in the plants accounted for this miracle and
enabled plants to adapt.
researchers found that soybean plant seeds exposed to radiation
produced different amounts and types of protein than seeds from
unexposed plants. The proteins protected the seeds from
radio-contaminated environment. Interestingly, plants from contaminated
fields produced one-third more of a protective protein called betaine
aldehyde dehydrogenase — the same protein known to protect human blood
from radiation damage.
News release courtesy of American Chemical Society
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