NASA: Astronaut’s DNA no longer matches identical twin’s after t - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NASA: Astronaut’s DNA no longer matches identical twin’s after time in space

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Courtesy NASA Courtesy NASA

Spending a year in space not only changes your outlook on life- it transforms your genes, too.

Preliminary results from NASA’s Twins Study reveal that 7% of astronaut Scott Kelly’s genes did not return to normal after his return to Earth two years ago.

The Twins Study brought ten research teams from around the country together to accomplish one goal: discover what happens to the human body after spending one year in space. The study looked at what happened to Kelly before, during and after he spent a year aboard the International Space Station, through an extensive comparison with his identical twin, Mark, who remained on Earth.

Scott, 54, returned in March 2016 from a year aboard the International Space Station — but 7% of his genes had changed. In the two years since, they have not returned to normal, NASA says.

Scott’s 340-day stay was longer than NASA’s typical six-month deployments to space, and while it is known that a person’s genes change away from Earth, they did not expect his genes to stay altered.

NASA says the 7 percent DNA changes, which they call “space genes,” bring up “possible longer term changes in genes related to his immune system, DNA repair, bone formation networks, hypoxia, and hypercapnia.”

Scott tweeted on Saturday that he wasn’t aware of his “space genes” until reading about it in a Newsweek article.

NASA says these findings will aide in their preparations for a three-year mission to Mars, as they figure out the body changes that will occur when humans spend over 1,000 days in space.

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