Why are plants less likely to die from cancer?
Radiation is harmful to living organisms, and when humans are exposed to radiation , their intensity often leads to death. However, plants are known to be less susceptible to radiation than animals, and Stuart Thompson, senior lecturer at Westminster University , on the question 'Why are plants less susceptible to radiation?' Mr. explains.
Why plants don't die from cancer
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident is one of the world's worst nuclear power plant accidents, and has caused a number of damage, including the exclusion of a 2,600 square meter area. However, the exclusion zone of such Chernobyl nuclear power plant is virtually a 'natural reserve' , and there are many wildlife such as wolves. Also, the plants did not die from the Chernobyl accident in the first place, and even in the areas with the greatest radiation damage, the vegetation recovered within just three years.
To answer the question why plants are less susceptible to radiation, Thompson said it is necessary to understand how radiation emitted from the reactor affects living cells. You are Radioactive substances are highly unstable particles that emit high energy and electromagnetic waves constantly, and they destroy the cell structure of animals and plants. Most of the cells recover even if damaged, except for DNA, which carries the genetic information of the organism, and when the DNA is damaged by radiation, it causes cancer or it rapidly dies when the radiation dose is high. It will be.
What makes DNA damage fatal to animals is that 'the cells and body structure of animals are highly specialized and inflexible'. There are many cells and organs that have different roles in animals, and if they do not cooperate with each other, life can not be maintained. An animal's body is like a very complex machine, and will die if one of its organs, such as the brain, heart, or lungs, is lost.
On the other hand, plants grow much more flexible and organic than animals. Since plants can not move by themselves, they have to adapt and grow in their surrounding environment, and as with animals, not all body structures are defined from the beginning. Even with the same type, the structure of the body has a high degree of freedom, such as growing deeper roots, growing stems, and making leaves more thick depending on the condition of the soil, climate, and the effects of other plants. It can be changed.
According to Thompson, unlike animal cells, plant cells can freely produce new cells that they need. A gardener can grow a plant from that location by planting a plant stem or sprout, etc. The reason is that the plant needs organs, such as roots, stems, leaves, etc., according to the situation in which it is placed. The ability to create With the ability of these plants, even if the cells are damaged by radiation or the stems and leaves are damaged by animals etc., the plants can continue to grow without dying, Thompson said.
Radiation can also produce cancer, but in plants, cancer metastasis is blocked by the cell walls of plant cells. Therefore, it seems that plants can survive in areas with high radiation damage without causing widespread spread of mutated cancer cells and causing fatal dysfunction.
More interestingly, some plants in Chernobyl exclusion zones have a molecular protection mechanism that protects DNA . It is believed that this is the result of adaptation to high concentrations of radiation, Thompson said, “The plants in Chernobyl's exclusion zone are alive because the radiation dose in the past was much higher than today. It may be using the ability that went back to a long time ago. '