NASA shared with the additional results of its one-year study made on identical twin brothers who were sent to space in 2014.
On March 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after spending a year in an open space. As Scott’s brother has the same DNA as his brother Mark Kelly, the scientists did not miss the opportunity to study the plausible changes in identical DNA’s of two people on a long-term basis.
In the 20th century, Albert Einstein already observed that time dilation exists on Earth and that differentiated from time spending in space. The time on Earth moves faster than in space. Consequently, people living on earth become older sooner rather than the person spending equal time in space. Nevertheless, scientists also studied that living in a weightless environment have side effects on human body. However, to announce the further consequences after the long-duration of spaceflight is the scientific novelty, one of its kind in the world as for investigators as for people.
Before listing the changes, NASA announced that the “Twin Study” had disclosed some sensitive information concerning the changes in humans’ bodies upon the request of the twin brothers. Both brothers were under the control of the International Space Stations’ (ISS) professionals during and after the experiment.
The primary changes that were observed are:
• During the time spending on space, Scott’s telomeres, caps at the end of chromosomes, become longer than Mark’s. Eventually, Scott’s telomeres returned to their normal length after comeback.
• The level of methylation, which is produced by cells in order to control gene expression, decreased in Scott’s white blood cells. In contrast, Mark’s white blood cells were higher that according to Nasa is interrelated with the sensitivity of the genes to a changing environment.
• During the study of methylation, scientists found that blood molecules were expressed differently between twin brothers. Scientists have a firm belief that it was a result of what they used to call “space gene”. Although, the different sequence of blood molecules might be coped with the fact that twin have mutations in the genes, however, NASA’s investigators announced that they are “looking closer to see if a ‘space gene’ could have been activated while Scott was in space.”
Researchers still combing through the data to observe more about the consequences and the reasons of the modifications made on Scott’s body.
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