After Astronomer Returns From A Year In Space, Scientists Find Their Most Stunning Discovery Yet In His DNA

Astronomer Scott Kelly became the first American to spend a year in space and ever since his return to Earth in March 2016, Kelly has been baffling scientists.

In a groundbreaking discovery, it was found out the very fabric of Kelly’s being, his DNA, has been altered during his stay away from the planet.

Check it out, per MSN:

Kelly, who lived on the International Space Station while his identical twin Mark Kelly stayed on Earth, returned after 340 days with 7% of his genes altered, according to NASA.

The shocking transformation means Scott is no longer genetically identical to his twin.

Some changes — like the lengthening of Scott’s telomeres, or the endcaps of chromosomes that shorten over time — reversed once he was subject to Earth’s gravity again.

But other changes persisted after six months. Researchers found a deficient amount of tissue oxygenation in Scott’s cells, along with stress to mitochondria, which transform nutrients into energy, and increased inflammation.

Kelly shared the scientific discovery over social media. “What? My DNA changed by 7%! Who knew? I just learned about it in this article,” he tweeted.

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“This could be good news! I no longer have to call [Mark Kelly] my identical twin brother anymore,” he joked.

Here’s more, from CNN:

The transformation of 7% of Scott’s DNA suggests longer-term changes in genes related to at least five biological pathways and functions.

The newest preliminary results from this unique study of Scott, now retired from NASA, were released at the 2018 Investigator’s Workshop for NASA’s Human Research Program in January. Last year, NASA published its first round of preliminary results at the 2017 Investigator’s Workshop. Overall, the 2018 findings corroborated those from 2017, with some additions.

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. The researchers learned that spaceflight is associated with oxygen-deprivation stress, increased inflammation and dramatic nutrient shifts that affect gene expression.

“This is thought to be from the stresses of space travel, which can cause changes in a cell’s biological pathways and ejection of DNA and RNA,” NASA said in a response, per New York Post. “Such actions can trigger the assembly of new molecules, like a fat or protein, cellular degradation; and can turn genes on and off, which change cellular function.”

“By studying how space travel can influence chemical changes in RNA and DNA, new ‘space genes’ were reported, indicating significant cell stress and correlations with changes noted by other Twins Study investigators,” the agency explained. “Whole-genome sequencing showed each twin has hundreds of unique mutations in their genome, more than expected, and some were found only after spaceflight.”


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