On Board the ISS for the first time used the method of editing DNA

Aboard the International space station (ISS) for the first time used the technology of CRISPR-Cas9 to edit DNA. Fortunately or unfortunately, the experiment was carried out with the humans, and brewer’s yeast. The aim was to to create a super supercommittee yeast. The task was to understand the mechanisms of DNA repair in space, reports Science Alert.

Brewer’s yeast, not for beer

In the experiment, strands of genetic code of the fungus was cut in several places to simulate radiation damage.

“DNA damage in fact occur on Board the ISS, and therefore the analysis of these injuries is also carried out in space. We want to understand whether the different and how different mechanisms of DNA repair in space and on Earth,” says Emily, Gison from the miniPCR Bio company that has developed a DNA laboratory for the ISS.

Space is actually a very dangerous place, and is available in its radiation represents one of the biggest problems. Despite being at an altitude of about 408 kilometers of the ISS is still protected by the magnetic field of the Earth for six months aboard the station on average, the astronauts are subjected to about 30 times more radiation than a person in a year on Earth. It is well known that cosmic radiation exposes the ISS astronauts at risk of radiation sickness, and also increases long-term risk of cancer, degenerative diseases and problems of the Central nervous system.

For a mission to Mars, which will be much longer than six months outside the protective magnetic layer of the Earth, the radiation hazard is increased. So figuring out how DNA is recovering from radiation damage, can be incredibly useful.

Experiment with editing the DNA of yeast aboard the ISS NASA astronauts Christine Koh and Nick Haig. Then left them alone, to give time to self-repair DNA. Comparison of the molecular structure of yeast DNA before and after this cycle of recovery-damaged, would allow to observe changes in molecular structure and note any possible genetic error.

To compare the results of Koch and Hague conducted multiple recovered DNA using the method of polymerase chain reaction inside a portable thermal cycler, was developed by company miniPCR. Then for DNA sequencing they used a second device of the company MinION.

Data on the results of this experiment have never been published, but they will be able to specify whether the recovered DNA damage and whether corrected any genetic errors or not.

The edit DNA solve the problem of traveling into deep space

According to scientists, in the future this knowledge can be used to help protect astronauts from DNA damage caused by cosmic radiation on long journeys.

“Yes, first, this study will tell us whether it is possible in principle to do things in space. Ideally, we can use these data to develop the methods to protect the astronauts from DNA damage due to long-term space flights, providing the ability to edit the genome in space,” concluded Gleason.

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