NASA Conducted A Crazy Study On Twins And Here Was What They Found
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and his twin brother Mark Kelly were separately observed as Mark remained in Earth whereas Scott was in space during the time of observation.
NASA's Twin Study research is a huge step in understanding the human race a little better. The Twin Study was conducted by NASA, wherein a set of twins were separated and studied to find out more about how the human body is affected by space. NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and his twin brother Mark Kelly were separately observed as Mark remained in Earth whereas Scott was in space during the time of observation. Twins have the same genetic makeup that helps scientists easily track the changes between the two bodies. Now, let’s talk about what scientists have found in this study.
1. The first change observed by researchers is that Scott Kelly’s telomeres were unexpectedly larger. He was the astronaut brother who went to space. Telomeres are biomarkers of aging that are observed in white blood cells. They are available at the end of the chromosomes in our DNA. To simplify it all, they are similar to plastic tips at the end of shoelaces; they are like a cap that protects the chromosomes and DNA.
But when Scott returned to the earth, the length of his telomeres returned to normal within six months. His bothers telomeres were normal while he was on the earth. This study will continue to observe the long term effects of space on human telomeres.
2. The second key finding observed by the scientists is that Scott’s immune system responded appropriately in space. As we know, the immune system is altered during spaceflight which makes astronauts vulnerable to different diseases.
3. The next finding is related to gene expression. Gene expression reflects how a body reacts in different environments. Researchers observed changes in the expression of Scott’s genes but the gene expression returned to normal after he stayed on Earth for six months.
4. A small percentage of genes related to the immune system and DNA repair did not return to normal after Scott returned to Earth.
5. All of these studies have helped researchers narrow down the key genes to target for use in monitoring the health of future space astronauts and space travelers.
6. The Twin Study has also proven data observed in earlier studies to be correct. This helps in establishing a framework that will help in future space related biomedical research.