Identical twins Astronaut’s DNA changed by spending a year in space


Identical twins are no longer genetically the same after astronaut Scott Kelly returned from space after spending a year.

Nasa’s primary results of twin study shows that after return of astronaut to Earth two years ago the 7% genes did not return as normal.

The latest preliminary results from this interesting study of Scott, retired from Nasa, were released at the 2018 Investigator’s Workshop for Nasa’s Human Research Program in January.

The study compared astronaut’s genes with his identical twin, Mark, who stayed on Earth.

The transformation of Scott’s DNA suggests longer-term changes in genes related to at least five biological pathways and functions.

Alternations are thought to be caused by the stresses of space travel.

The researchers found out that spaceflight is associated with oxygen-deprivation stress, increased inflammation and dramatic nutrient shifts that affect gene expression.

To observe physical changes occurred while living in space, scientists measured Scott’s metabolites (necessary for maintaining life), cytokines (secreted by immune system cells) and proteins (workhorses within each cell) before, during and after his mission.

Chris Mason of Weill Cornell Medicine reported on the activation of Scott’s “space genes” confirming the results of his separate Nasa study, published last year.

Mason and his team focused on chemical changes in RNA and DNA to understand the genetic dynamics of each twin.

Each twin has more than expected unique changes in his genome revealed Whole-genome sequencing.

However 93% of Scott’s genetic expression returned to normal once he returned to Earth.

Mason’s effort shows that the most important change to Scott’s cells was hypoxia, or a deficient amount of tissue oxygenation, probably due to a lack of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide.

Mason’s team found changes in Scott’s collagen, blood clotting and bone formation due to fluid shifts and zero gravity.

The researchers learned hyperactive immune activity.

NASA gained awareness to what happens to the human body in space beyond the usual six-month International Space Station missions previously studied in other astronauts.

Ten groups of researchers including Mason’s team are looking at extensive change of information about the Kelly twins’ health.

Nasa stated Kelly’s one-year operation is a scientific stepping stone to a planned three-year mission to Mars.


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