The Twin Study propelled NASA into the genomics era of space travel. It was a ground-breaking study comparing what happened to astronaut Scott Kelly, in space, to his identical twin brother, Mark, who remained on Earth. The perfect nature versus nurture study was born.
The Twins Study brought ten research teams from around the country together to accomplish one goal: discover what happens to the human body after spending one year in space. NASA has a grasp on what happens to the body after the standard-duration six-month missions aboard the International Space Station, but Scott Kelly’s one-year mission is a stepping stone to a three-year mission to Mars. More.
So what did they find? Among other things,
After returning to Earth, Scott started the process of readapting to Earth’s gravity. Most of the biological changes he experienced in space quickly returned to nearly his preflight status. Some changes returned to baseline within hours or days of landing, while a few persisted after six months.
Scott’s telomeres (endcaps of chromosomes that shorten as one ages) actually became significantly longer in space. While this finding was presented in 2017, the team verified this unexpected change with multiple assays and genomics testing. Additionally, a new finding is that the majority of those telomeres shortened within two days of Scott’s return to Earth.
Another interesting finding concerned what some call the “space gene”, which was alluded to in 2017. Researchers now know that 93% of Scott’s genes returned to normal after landing. However, the remaining 7% point to possible longer term changes in genes related to his immune system, DNA repair, bone formation networks, hypoxia, and hypercapnia.
Philip Cunningham, who forwarded this information, reports an interesting discussion on Facebook. From a commenter:
“I’m sure the attacks on his DNA from the prolong exposure to Space with the lack of protection of the many forms of radiation would result in a great deal of Mutations. Genetic Entropy would be accelerated for anyone under such an experience. This would result in some DNA change.”
To which he responded:
“I’m sure you are right to a certain degree, yet this following statement is the one of most interest to me… “Most of Scott’s genes did indeed return to normal after a brief time back here on Earth, but not all of them.” … It is that finding in particular that directly falsifies the “central dogma” of Darwinian evolution since its shows the organism controlling its DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism as is presupposed by Darwinists.”
Actually, there is no falsifying Darwinism now, mainly because it is now beyond the reach of evidence. Possibly, the best way to discard it is to quietly ignore it in actual research while supporting the efforts to pry it loose from the school systems.
Obviously, the genome is much more plastic than centuries of hereditarians have led us to believe. It will eventually be very difficult to explain Darwinism to students. Somewhat like explaining phrenology maybe…
See also: Identical twins show epigenetic similarity as well. Then what about the famous “twin studies”?