MAR 28, 2018 8:08 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
DEC 31, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 31, 2019
There's More to a Cat's Whiskers Than You Think
Cats may be enjoyable pets, but their true roots go back to incredibly predacious creatures with bodies that have been evolutionarily adapted for hunting p...
JAN 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 08, 2020
Florence Nightingale: Nursing Pioneer, and Data Scientist?
Florence Nightingale, the pioneer in modern nursing care, served as a nurse manager in the Crimean War in the 1850s. Due to her wholeheartedly devotion to...
JAN 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 07, 2020
Baby Penguins Are Often Bullied to Death by Adults
Most people envision penguins as fun, happy-go-lucky birds residing in the Earth’s chilly polar regions, but that’s not always the case. In fac...
JAN 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 20, 2020
SpaceX Demos Crew Dragon Launch Escape for NASA
SpaceX is one of two major players in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, an attempt to use third-party space companies to bring crewed space launches ba...
JAN 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 23, 2020
Meet SF6, Our Frenemy in Fighting Climate Change
Sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is a non-flammable, non-toxic, synthetic gas. First discovered back in 1901, this odorless and colorless gas is commonly used...
FEB 11, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 11, 2020
How the World's Fastest Cat Compares to the World's Fastest Dog
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal; their powerful hind legs give them incredible launching power and their stretchy spines provide a massi...
Loading Comments...