On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded causing the world’s worst radioactive accident. In 2017, photographer Mike Hettwer went to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with the animal welfare group Clean Futures Fund to spay and neuter stray dogs. Most evenings the dogs would gather near the entrance to the $2 billion New Safe Confinement structure (background) that covers the damaged reactor. The CFF veterinarians also collected blood samples that were part of cutting-edge DNA research published in Science Advances. The study revealed that the dogs are descendants of those present at the time of the accident. The dogs’ DNA could help to better understand the long-term effects of radiation on human health and genetics.