Astronauts cut genes in space

Astronauts on the International Space Station have successfully conducted a study of DNA repair in space, effectively using the CRISPR/Cas9 method for the first time, making a major leap in space research.

Every day, our DNA is damaged by external and internal processes. For example, he could be physically attacked by UV rays from the sun or some molecules Chemical processes, but metabolic and biochemical reactions self-developing It can also harm our code when this happens, there are risks cancer progression. Among the changes that can occur, double breaks are a very dangerous type of damage, and for living things on Earth eukaryotes It has two mechanisms to fix it : The Reassemble Peer and intersection of non-pair endings.

The need to protect the health of astronauts

On the Earth’s surface, theambiance It protects us, in part, by filtering out dangerous space rays. On the other hand, this is not the case for residents International Space Station (ISS), are more at risk of seeing their DNA severely damaged, in particular due to Ionizing radiation is everywhere In space, which is annoying During long space flights. to protect astronauts, The NASA Research is being conducted on DNA repair mechanisms, which may be affected by microgravityand chose to study it as part of double strand spacers in the space.

Cutting DNA strands using CRISPR/Cas9

As shown in the study published in PLUS ONE On June 30, in order to recreate these double lesions in a controlled manner, scientists resorted to a new method using CRISPR/Cas9 . Genome Editing Technology. During this, theenzyme Cas9 exonuclease is directed by a ARN Evidence synthesized by genetic engineering to make cuts at a specific location of the genome.

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Use CRISPR/Cas9 . molecular scissors DNA damage has the advantage that it makes it possible to monitor repair mechanisms. In fact, if the breaks were caused by imprecise methods such as radiation, it wouldn’t be safe to begin with, and scientists wouldn’t know exactly where to look, while CRISPR/Cas9 changes in the sequence can easily be identified. chain reaction Across polymerase (PCR) or sequence.

Astronauts He conducted the experiment on baker’s yeast cells yeast yeast, by bringing it to the International Space Station with everything needed to make it grow and studying its entire repair in space. It was important to perform the experiment from the ground up in microgravity to obtain the most reliable results.

Long experience in microgravity from A to Z

In the laboratories of the International Space Station, the organism has been transformed by incorporating genetic material of exogenous origin, and the genome has been edited with CRISPR/Cas9 in a manner that causes controlled breaks. in strands of DNA. The yeast Then it was able to grow, allowing the DNA to repair itself. In the end, the latter was serialized, and this whole process took place in space. “ The ability to conduct such comprehensive comprehensive research is a huge leap forward for astrobiology. Sarah Castro Wallace, co-author of the study. The same experiment was conducted in parallel on Earth, which made it possible to compare the progress of genetic repair in the two environments.

This is the first time in space that the CRISPR/Cas9 method has been successfully implemented and genetic material is incorporated from the outside into an organism. More research will be needed to determine whether microgravity causes one repair pathway to be used more than the other, but this study represents a great start and is a great start.We hope to explore the future And the space colonization.

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