back to article Astronaut blood reveals genetic mutations for cancer and heart disease

Analyses of blood taken before and after spaceflight have confirmed astronauts undergo genetic mutations that could make them more susceptible to developing cancer and heart disease. Cell functions can change due to alterations in DNA brought on by environmental factors. These genetic mutations, known as somatic mutations, can …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    That's not really unexpected.

    What was the result of the mutation of TP53? With luck it could be a positive one.

    we were surprised to find that the DNA damage repair gene TP53 was the most frequently mutated in this astronaut cohort

    The cohort size is very small to generalize, can it be considered as a trend or as a statistically irrelevant anomaly?

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      I believe ....

      .... there is a 25% chance of the astronaut being able to stretch their body out like rubber!

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: I believe ....

        I heard something that Neil Armstrong stretched out to get something and ended up elongated for a short time, and hence inspired the Stretch Armstrong toy.

      2. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: I believe ....

        @KittenHuffer as the only woman on that flight I felt like I was invisible.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Stop

      > What was the result of the mutation of TP53? With luck it could be a positive one.

      Sure thing, as everybody knows Murphy's law states that "Anything that can succeed will succeed", doesn't it...

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The sample

    This is interesting in principle, although a study of 14 subjects based on 20-year old frozen blood samples is (as the authors in fairness state) not really extrapolable to indicate cause and effect. However from now on all astronauts should probably be tested to build up a picture. It's going to be vital to know in adavnce, supposing plans for a moon base.go ahead.

  3. Jan K. Bronze badge

    Thanks for an interesting article!

    Glad I'm grounded! ^ ^

  4. Caver_Dave
    Boffin

    I think that you'll find ...

    ... that there is a much larger cohort to test and these are the ones that have flown transatlantic over the North Pole.

    Not much difference in SEU of computers on that route and in LEO.

  5. Lordrobot

    Once again the WISDOM of earth revealed...

    HG Wells talked about the invader being destroyed by earth-borne microbes but never realized that Man would eventually be the invader of other worlds. But inside the fragile DNA of man were the code of their own destruction. A DNA detonator to stop mankind from spreading their murderous insanity to other planets... As pronouns of earth gleefully and with envious eyes, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, except for those with diversity training, drew their plans against those creatures of other planets. But even as they moved to and fro, their own demise was assured as their DNA mutated, triggering a failsafe, and silent self-detonator... programmed extinction of the invaders.

  6. MonsieurTM

    The Earth is a very, very nice place to live Elsewhere, e.g. space, the Moon, Mars and so-forth is not. It is a absurd fantasy that humans will visit these other words in a long term sense when using virtual reality is so much cheaper and safer. Why do we persist in the foolishness of sending fleshies into space? ROTM!!!

    1. ChoHag Bronze badge

      Enjoy while it lasts

      Eventually the machines will get their own rockets and bugger off to enjoy flitting about in space, and where will we be then?

    2. NATTtrash Silver badge

      The Earth is a very, very nice place to live

      So perhaps the remaining question is why humans succeed to make such a deteriorating mess of it....

  7. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Insufficient Astronaut Shielding

    Since spacecraft/space-station walls are nearly-paper-thin and provide almost no protection from the high-speed particles which cause mutations, we'll have to develop some sort of electronic shielding, preferably sufficiently cost-, power-, and weight-efficient enough to be installed into space suits.

    1. Ruisert

      Re: Insufficient Astronaut Shielding

      Water in sufficient quantity is a fairly effective barrier to high energy cosmic radiation. I doubt one could do this with a suit, but storing water for an interplanetary craft between the outer and habitable layers might be an effective solution.

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