NASA To Study Identical Twins


Image Credit: NASA

Image Credit: NASA

Do you have an identical twin? Identical twins have identical genetic profiles. They look very similar, and if brought up in the same environment they even behave similarly. You just can’t tell one twin from the other!

Twins are usually study subjects of researchers in the science labs. Why does the space organisation NASA needs identical twins?

NASA has something big on its mind. Here is the plan.

Scott Kelly and Mark Kelly are identical twins who also happen to be NASA astronauts. In March of 2015, Scott Kelly will leave for a one-year stay in the International Space Station(ISS). Mark Kelly, will stay back on Earth. Both brothers will be under keen observation of NASA scientists for a whole year.

The ‘Twin study’ , as NASA calls it, will tell us the effects of the long-term stay in the space flight on the human body in comparison to the stay on earth. There couldn’t have been better subjects than identical twins. Identical twins have identical genes. However, sometimes the gene activity changes if the environmental around them is different for a prolonged period. Such a change in scientific terms is known as epigenetic modification.

There will be at least ten research that will be conducted by constantly comparing the Kelly brothers.

  • The boys will be given same flu vaccines, and scientists will see how their immune systems react. It is said that immunity dips in space.
  • A study will find out if the way the DNA changes in space is making astronauts age faster.
  • Did you know that the eyeglasses from Earth don’t work in space? A study will find out why.
  • Many a times astronauts complain of “space fog” – a term used for low mental alertness. Researchers will try to find out why that happens.

This study will be extremely helpful to the future space travellers as these genetic investigations will give NASA scientists a good idea about how human body functions in space versus how it function on Earth.

Wishing Scott and Mark all the best. Hope you guys have a great year!

Story Source:
Some parts of the above story are based on materials provided by NASANote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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