Discovery News (Silver Spring, Md.: 11.4 million monthly unique users)
"Plants In Nuked Soil: Less Talking, More Growing"
February 18, 2011
Plants seem to tolerate the high radiation levels found in the soil near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Both soybeans and flax showed changes in their proteins, but not enough to stop them from thriving in the soil contaminated by the 1986 disaster. Martin Hajduch of the Slovak Academy of Science and his colleagues found that only five percent of the flax seeds' proteins were altered. The proteins involved were related to cell signaling, or the system cells use to communicate with each other. Exactly what allows the plants to thrive in the nuked soil is still unclear. The research was published in the American Chemical Society's journal, Environmental Science and Technology. Birds haven't been so lucky. Recent research showed that birds living in the Chernobyl area have significantly smaller brains than normal.