Epigenetics in Space?

Have you ever wondered why identical twins look different as they age? I was watching the NASA Twin Study Presentation. Scott Kelly was sent into space, while his twin brother, Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. Scientists followed these two men closely.


Changes is their epigenome became present. The epigenome modifies the proteins made by DNA. More methyl groups (a chemical tag) were found on Mark’s DNA than Scott’s DNA. More methyl groups prevent the DNA from making proteins. This is called the downregulation of genes (DNA) and changes gene expression. Changes in gene expression can prevent or cause disease by turning genes on or off. Mark’s life experiences on Earth were more varied than Scott’s in space.


Being in space is a dramatic example of lifestyle change. Closer to home, our diet, physical activity, stress level, sleep, harmful substances, and our social relationships have the power to influence our epigenome for better or worse health. Please consider a healthy lifestyle a high priority in your life! Thanks for reading! #lifestylemedicne #seniors #olderadults



Picture courtesy of NASA

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