Space: NASA scientist has already modified human DNA to help us survive on other planets
If humans are to colonize other planets, we will have to adapt our bodies to handle the harsh conditions we encounter in these strange new worlds.
A NASA scientist has already taken the first step in this direction.
Chris Mason, a geneticist at Cornell University in New York who was the principal investigator of NASA’s “twin project” to measure the effect of space travel on the human body, has already experimentally altered human genes for space flight.
As part of his research into “the metagenomes that allow NASA astronauts to establish the molecular foundations and genetic defenses to enable humans to travel in space long term,” Prof. Mason added the DNA almost ineradicable tardigrades to create a superhuman hybrid cell.
He chose a specific gene, called Dsup, which protects DNA from damage to astronauts during long space flights.
“In my lab, we have now permanently integrated Dsup into a human genome and a new cell line in our lab,” he told New Scientist. âWe can achieve up to 80% reduction in DNA damage compared to unmodified cells when we shoot intense radiation at those cells. “
Professor Mason firmly believes that humanity has a responsibility to adapt, through genetic modification if necessary, to ensure the survival of our species.
In his new book The Next 500 Years, he writes: âEngineering is humanity’s innate duty and essential to the survival of life.
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He goes on to describe how he describes how gene editing tools like CRISPR could help future astronauts survive the long-term effects of cosmic radiation in deep space and allow colonists to thrive on the Moon, Mars and may. -to be. The largest planet Saturn. Titan Moon.
And he warns that experimenting with the human genome is not without risks: âEvery time you add a gene to an existing biological system, you can cause unexpected changes.
We can see mutations or other changes taking place in the regulation of gene expression. There may also be a risk of cancer. Therefore, you need to have proper supervision on all this type of work. “
But he confidently predicts that within the next 10 to 20 years, these issues will be overcome, even someday, allowing astronauts to âturn onâ additional protective genes when needed and turn them off when their mission is complete.
He adds that genetic modification isn’t just for humans. He predicts that the first step in making Mars habitable for settlers will be to introduce genetically engineered bacteria into the soil to alter the planet’s atmosphere.
According to Professor Mason, genetically modified animals could one day take part in a space mission as a source of food, or even just as pets.
NASA Scientist Has Already Altered Human DNA To Help Us Survive On Other Planets