But of course you do need to start out with the right questions:
Since the nuclear catastrophe took place in April 1986, the area surrounding the nuclear power plant has largely been abandoned by humans.
But although radioactive contamination devastated wildlife populations there, some animals survived and continued to breed – including feral dogs, some of whom may have descended from domestic pets.
The team found that the strays had formed into packs, like wild dogs and wolves, but the groups were living close together, a behaviour not seen in undomesticated animals.
The dogs have been monitored by the Chernobyl Dog Research Initiative since 2017, and a new study of blood samples taken by the project team has shown that the animals were genetically different from other canines.
Now the team are planning to study the new genetic traits to see if any of the mutations is helping them to survive in the radiation zone.
Lots of wildlife is doing just fine in there. The radiation levels aren’t, that is, much of a problem. So, the genes and radiation thing might not be what is important, or even interesting, to study.
One of the things about domestic dogs gone feral. The mother of pups gets no aid from any other dog in the pack. As a result the usual guess is that 1 in 100 pups survives. Packs of feral dogs are rather self-limiting over the years therefore.
Among wolves, for example, only the alpha female breeds and she is aided by the rest of the pack. Including the junior females (that they’re usually closely related makes this work).
The one behavioural change which will make a wild dog population self-sustaining or even expansionary is that aid to nursing bitches. Which would be an interesting thing to find out. Which could even be genetic of course. By this time it’s likely that the aid would be to nieces and nephews which as Haldane pointed out does work, even if weakly.