Identical Twins' DNA No Longer Match After Year in Space

Study NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly's DNA Changed in Space

The HRP is dedicated to discovering the best methods and technologies to support safe, productive human space travel, as well as educating the public about the challenges of human space travel. Scott's voyage is now the longest documented space mission completed by an astronaut, and is a stepping stone to a three-year mission to Mars.

One-Year Mission & Twins Study The two astronauts began their year in space on March 27, 2015, and returned to Earth on March 1, 2016.

The team of NASA researchers Investigators came from around the country to meet and share their final research results at the annual Human Research Program Investigators' Workshop held in Galveston, Texas Identical twins, Scott and Mark Kelly, are the subjects of NASA's Twins Study.

These variations could explain why differences in susceptibility to specific diseases, for example, have been found in twins.

The Kelly brothers are identical twins, which should mean that their DNA is exactly the same. As the saying goes, science takes time.

Kelly said on Twitter that he didn't find out about the results until he saw media reports this week about the DNA change. At present, astronauts only spend six months on the International Space Station as standard.

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According to preliminary findings from the NASA researchers, upon his return from the International Space Station (ISS) after spending 340 days there, Scott had grown 2 inches taller, his body mass had decreased, his gut bacteria were completely different and even his genetic coding had changed significantly. While Scott spent a year in space, Mark stayed behind, and upon Scott's return, NASA was able to track and monitor the ways that spaceflight had altered Scott's body.

The "Twins Study" was a preliminary step in the lead-up to an eventual long-haul manned mission to Mars.

The individual studies on the twins will be combined into a summary paper, as detailed in the graphic above.

To track physical changes caused by time in space, scientists measured Scott's metabolites (necessary for maintaining life), cytokines (secreted by immune system cells) and proteins (workhorses within each cell) before, during and after his mission. Other changes will remain. Scientists believe that these telomere changes, along with the DNA damage and DNA fix measured in Scott's cells, were caused by both radiation and calorie restrictions. This unexplained anomaly was verified with multiple assays and genomics testing. "Additionally, a new finding is that the majority of those telomeres shortened within two days of Scott's return to Earth".

After landing, 93 percent of Scott Kelly's genes returned to normal, the researchers found.

Researchers said the long-term changes were related to Kelly's immune system, DNA fix, bone formation networks, hypoxia, and hypercapnia. Mark remained on Earth as the control, and Scott was hurled into space for an entire year - which, to be honest, sounds like it would be really fucking boring after a few weeks tops. The results of this study will be helpful in preparing for future space missions.

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