HEADLINE Astronaut’s DNA differs after space travel, alerting radiation threats


Astronaut’s DNA differs after space travel, alerting radiation threats

Shan Xin | People's Daily app

17:21, March 16, 2018


Scott Kelly (R) and his twin brother Mark Kelly. (Photo: NASA)

Astronaut Scott Kelly’s genes are on longer identical to his twin brother’s after one year in space, NASA found recently, triggering concerns over radiation protection of Mars astronauts in the 2030s.   

Preliminary results from NASA's Twins Study reveal that around seven percent of Scott's DNA went through a long-term transformation and did not return to normal, after measuring and comparing his metabolites, cytokines and proteins with his twin Mark’s, who remained on Earth while Scott traveled aboard the International Space Station two years ago.

Astronaut Scott Kelly on a spacewalk on November 6, 2015, as taken by fellow astronaut Kjell Lindgren.

Astronaut Scott Kelly on a spacewalk on November 6, 2015.(Photo: NASA)

According to local media, one of the most important changes found in 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. Possible damage to mitochondria, the "power plants of cells," also occurred in Scott's cells, as indicated by mitochondrial stress and increased levels of mitochondria in the blood.

The team also saw changes in Scott's collagen, blood clotting and bone formation due, most likely, to fluid shifts and zero gravity. Hyperactive immune activity were discovered as well, thought to be the result of his radically different environment: space, press release of the angency said. 

Astronaut in space

(Photo: NASA)

NASA was said to gain great insights from the findings, whereby to further study on protecting astronauts from cosmic radiation during missions to Mars in 2030s. 

(With input from CNN)

Related Stories

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue