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Space travel sets off 'fireworks' of gene expression: NASA

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Space travel triggers genetic 'fireworks' - an increase in the process of turning genes on and off, a study has found.

When retired astronaut Scott Kelly returned from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth in March 2016, NASA's Twins Study researchers collected samples from him and his twin brother

The researchers began combining the data and reviewing the enormous amount of information looking for correlations.

The study revealed that space travel causes an increase in methylation, the process of turning genes on and off, and additional knowledge in how that process works.

"Some of the most exciting things that we've seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space," said Chris Mason, Twins Study Principal Investigator.

We have seen thousands and thousands of genes change how they are turned on and turned off. This happens as soon as an astronaut gets into space, and some of the activity persists temporarily upon return to Earth," said Mason.

"This study represents one of the most comprehensive views of human biology," he said.

"It really sets the bedrock for understanding molecular risks for space travel as well as ways to potentially protect and fix those genetic changes," he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 25 2017. 13:02 IST