After spending almost an year in space Scott Kelly (Astronaut from Nasa) Returned to Earth. He has returned after 340 days on the International Space station. His DNA reports confirmed him as a changed man – his time in orbit had permanently altered part of his DNA.
During his time on the International Space Shuttle, Scott kelly has taken part in a study with his brother Mark back on Earth. They both are twins. Scientists have studied the differences between Scott and Mark, who was also an astronaut at the time. The brothers provided the samples of blood, saliva and urine and the have undergone ultrasounds and bone scans, got flu shots and more, all in the name of science and research.
Researchers recently confirmed the study’s preliminary findings, which revealed that part of Scott’s genetic makeup actually changed during his year on the orbiting space lab.
Scientists who were doing the research on Scott Kelly, who set the record for most consecutive days spent in orbit, underwent an “unexpected” genetic change, found “hundreds of unique mutations.” Some involved the circulation of so-called cell-free DNA in the blood. Others involved changes in the epigenome — a sort of genetic control system that determines how genes are expressed. Still others involved a lengthening of telomeres, the caps on the ends of chromosomes that help regulate the aging process.
About 93% of the changes were temporary only and for some time, with Kelly’s genetic profile returning to normal comparatively quickly after his return to Earth; in the case of the telomeres, the lengthening vanished within 48 hours. But about 7% of the changes have remained in the two years since he returned to Earth. Those involved genes relate to Kelly’s “immune system, DNA repair, bone formation networks, hypoxia, and hypercapnia”, the study says.