Astronaut's DNA changed by time in space

Audrey Hill
March 17, 2018

Identical twin astronauts, Scott and Mark Kelly, are subjects of NASA's Twins Study.

Scientists measured Kelly's metabolites, proteins, and cytokines to track physical changes caused by time in space. Only 93 percent of Scott's genes returned to normal after landing. That months-old update appears to have fueled this week's rash of inaccurate stories; Kelly Humphries, a NASA spokesman, said there were no new developments this week. "This change of gene expression is very minimal". "This likely is within the range for humans under stress, such as mountain climbing or SCUBA diving", NASA said in an emailed statement. With this study, we've seen thousands and thousands of genes change how they are turned on and turned off.

The Twins Study has benefited NASA by providing the first application of genomics to evaluate potential risks to the human body in space.

This was revealed in preliminary results from the space agency's twins study, according to CNN.

Scott's telomeres (endcaps of chromosomes that shorten as one ages) actually became significantly longer in space. Indeed, if seven percent of his DNA changed, he would literally be a different species.

Yet as genes turn on and off, change in the function of cells may occur. "7% uncontrolled change? Disastrous".

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NASA says the study will help researchers plan for three-year manned missions to Mars. Such trips would require long trips in space, exposing the human body to potentially unknown hazards. Avey said. "This could point to longer term effects of space travel". Most of that flipped right back too.

"The NASA result everyone is freaking out about actually measured Scott Kelly's expression levels, and it found that - not surprisingly - spaceflight affects how much expressing certain genes do, particularly those involved in immune function, DNA fix pathways, and bone growth", Nadia Drake wrote in National Geographic.

For additional detail on preliminary findings, visit NASA Twins Study Investigators to Release Integrated Paper in 2018.

That "cell-free DNA" can be produced because of stress, NASA said, which, when you think about it, makes sense. Research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight is needed before astronauts are sent on journeys that would triple the time humans have spent in space so far. It just so happens Scott has an identical twin brother who could serve as a control.

"They are still identical twins". "In the original story, we reported that 7 percent of Kelly's genetic code had changed after his stint in space".

"Identical twins don't live identical lives".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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