We may need to genetically engineer astronauts to protect them from radiation during long space flights

astronautworkingonmarsjpg
Image: NASA

One of the main health concerns with space travel is radiation exposure. If, for example, scientists could figure out a way to make human cells more resilient to the effects of radiation, astronauts could remain healthier for longer durations in space. Theoretically, this type of technology could also be used to combat the effects of radiation on healthy cells during cancer treatments on Earth, [geneticist Chris] Mason noted.

One way that scientists could alter future astronauts is through epigenetic engineering, which essentially means that they would “turn on or off” the expression of specific genes, Mason explained

Alternatively, and even more strangely, these researchers are exploring how to combine the DNA of other species, namely tardigrades, with human cells to make them more resistant to the harmful effects of spaceflight, like radiation. This wild concept was explored in a 2016 paper.

ADVERTISEMENT

Related article:  Can the human body survive a trip to Mars unharmed? New study casts doubt on safety of long-term space travel

Genetically editing humans for space travel would likely be a part of natural changes to the human physiology that could occur after living on Mars for a number of years, Mason said. “It’s not if we evolve; it’s when we evolve,” he added.

Read full, original post: Can We Genetically Engineer Humans to Survive Missions to Mars?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend