Created a GMO salad that will help future Mars colonists

(ORDO NEWS) — The long-term consequences of space travel are still not well understood. However, scientists are aware of some of the consequences of such trips, so they are already developing ways to deal with them as part of human missions to Mars.

Many people dream of being astronauts! But do you know the implications of this work?

One of the problems of long-term travel is that microgravity reduces bone density and increases the risk of fractures. Researchers from the University of California at Davis, USA, believe they have been able to solve this problem. They created a lettuce that supports bone tissue.

Experts have developed a transgenic lettuce that has been genetically modified to produce a bone-stimulating hormone. Most importantly, even now modern technologies allow growing this product in space.

What happens to astronauts in space

Previous research has confirmed that during long-duration space flights, astronauts suffer from a condition known as osteopenia, which leads to weakened bones.

“Bone weakening due to progressive bone loss is a potentially serious side effect of long-term spaceflight,” NASA said. “Studies with astronauts who have spent many months on the Mir space station have shown that space travelers can lose (on average) 1 to 2% of bone mass each month.”

To counter this effect, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) follow certain exercise regimens. However, people are not on the ISS for more than six months.

Therefore, this problem is not as serious for them as it is for future pioneers who will spend years in space. For example, the proposed mission to Mars from NASA will take at least three years.

How You Can Prevent Bone Loss

Created a GMO salad that will help future Mars colonists 2

One option is to take drugs that contain a peptide fragment of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which stimulates the formation of bone mass. However, transporting large quantities of the drug is impractical.

That is why the scientists looked at ways in which astronauts can independently produce a peptide fragment while in space. The solution is transgenic lettuce seeds that have been genetically edited to produce PTH.

Lettuce seeds are very small, so you can take them with you in almost unlimited quantities. In addition, they have already proven their effectiveness!

During screening, the researchers found that about eight cups (380 grams) of lettuce a day would provide astronauts with an ample dose of the hormone. For comparison, a standard head of lettuce weighs about 300 g.


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