NASA astronauts have traces of a mutation in their blood

(ORDO NEWS) — Prolonged stay in the space environment can cause the development of cancer.

A team of researchers found traces of mutations in the blood samples of NASA astronauts. They could be caused by a long stay in space. In the future, such changes can lead to the oncology.

Whole blood samples from the astronauts were collected twice – ten days before the space flight and on the day of landing. Three days after landing, they collected leukocytes.

The samples were stored in the freezer for about 20 years. The analysis showed that there were many blood cells in the samples that originated from one clone.

Various blood cancers, including chronic myeloid leukemia, are examples of clonal hematopoiesis.

DNA sequencing and bioinformatic analysis identified 34 mutations in 17 genes, with TP3 mutation being the most common.

The gene is responsible for the production of a protein that suppresses the formation of tumors. In addition, scientists have identified changes in DNMT3A, mutations in which can be found in acute myeloid leukemia.

According to the researchers, the number of mutations was high for the age of the astronauts, but still below the threshold of concern.

However, studying the impact of a long stay in space is important for future missions. NASA plans to start the colonization of the Moon and Mars , so it is necessary to ensure the safety of people who will be in space for a long time.

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