MAR 28, 2018 08:08 PM PDT

Space Had a Small but Long-lasting Effect on Genes

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Astronaut Scott Kelly and his identical twin Mark participated in NASA's twin study to assess what effect space travel had on the body. Indeed, going to space increased inflammation, created shifts in nutrient levels and was stressful due to oxygen deprivation. All of that acted to change the expression of many different genes. Telomeres, the caps on the ends of chromosomes, also lengthened during Scott's time in space.

Now that Scott has been back on Earth for two years, the study has found that there was no "fundamental change" to his DNA, according to NASA. However, seven percent of the genes that were altered during spaceflight have not returned to their typical expression levels, although the remaining 93 percent did. That change is comparable to the effects of some other strenuous activities that people might undertake, said NASA, like diving or mountain climbing.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 14, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 14, 2019
All Squirrels Enjoy Nuts, and Some Shamelessly Steal Them
It’s no secret that squirrels enjoy eating nuts, but a lesser known fact is that many of these cunning rodents also enjoy the thrill and easy reward...
NOV 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2019
The Universe is So Vast That Even the Speed of Light Seems Insignificant
When astronomers measure the distance between two distant objects in outer space, the term ‘light-year’ gets tossed around somewhat frequently....
NOV 14, 2019
Earth & The Environment
NOV 14, 2019
Greenland's Summer Melt Helps Scientists Track Sea Level Rise
This summer, the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced a significant melting event not seen since 2002, mainly due to the heatwave that swept through most of Eur...
NOV 14, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 14, 2019
Protein Build-Up Places Heart at Risk
Amyloidosis is a disease caused by protein buildup in the body. These abnormal proteins, called amyloids, are produced in the bone marrow. Multiple types o...
NOV 14, 2019
Earth & The Environment
NOV 14, 2019
Study Confirms Hurricanes are Getting Much Worse
If it seems like hurricanes have become more destructive in recent years, it’s because they have. Thanks to a new damage-framing method accounting fo...
NOV 14, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 14, 2019
Triggerfish Are Lobsters' Worst Enemies
Lobsters, just like many other animals, follow migration patterns. They are often observed traveling in large packs, marching in straight lines across the...
Loading Comments...