Sunday, March 18, 2018

Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly Are Still Identical Twins, Despite What You May Have Read

Scott Kelly spent a year in space on the International Space Station while his identical brother, Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. There was a lot of media confusion and over exaggeration on what happened after Scott Kelly returned to Earth, as he was examined to see what has changed in his body compare to his brother. Many were stating that they were no long identical twins because Scott Kelly’s DNA changed, however, that is not the entire case, they are still as much of twins before Scott Kelly went to space. Scott Kelly’s DNA did not change, but there are observations in changes in his gene expression, which changed by 7% because of the stresses from the different environments he was in like, scuba diving, mountain climbing and being in space. Furthermore, as the article states, “Although 93% of genes’ expression returned to normal postflight, a subset of several hundred ‘space genes’ were still disrupted after return to Earth.” Researchers focus on studying the genetic effects of the twins for future missions, like going to Mars, and to understand the long term effects of space travels. There are also lots of physical effects on the body that are being studied after traveling in space like weakening muscles, risks of cancer from being exposed to radiation and the overall stresses on the body. With the results, scientists can research and find solutions to improve the human body's health and well being while being in space.

I thought this article was very insightful and interesting pertaining to genetics in space studies because there isn’t much research material available. NASA has a great opportunity to study this case of twins with one being in a controlled environment and the other exposed to another extreme environment. I was also interested in this article because I am currently reading Scott Kelly’s book called, “Endurance, A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery” that goes through his life, including his brother Mark Kelly, and all the way up to his experience on the International Space Station.

1 comment:

  1. This was really cool! I'm really interested in NASA and space travel, so reading this was very interesting. I knew that space travel could alter your body, but I didn't know that genes could be affected so much. It's cool to know more research is being done to learn more about this.