Biochemical Profile: Homozygous Twin Control for a 12 Month Space Flight Exposure (Twins Study - Smith) - 12.28.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Although identical twins are genetically almost the same, differences in environment, diet and other outside factors can affect their health in different ways. The Twins Study is an integrated compilation of ten studies at multiple research centers that examines the effects of space travel on twin astronauts, one of whom stays on the International Space Station for one year while his twin remains on Earth. Biochemical Profile: Homozygous Twin Control for a 12 Month Space Flight Exposure (Twins Study – Smith) studies how an astronaut’s biochemical profile changes in response to the microgravity and radiation environment of space, how these changes differ from those of his twin brother who remains on the ground, and how they relate to the various changes noted by other Twins Study investigators.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Sara R. Zwart, Ph.D., UTMB, Houston, TX, United States
Martina A. Heer, Ph.D., University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Developer(s)
NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned
43/44

Previous Missions
Nutrition, Pro K

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Twins Study provides the extraordinary opportunity to control variables of individual genetic differences, susceptibilities and lifestyle factors, making differential effects observed between the twins spaceflight-specific.
  • The Biochemical Profile: Homozygous Twin Control for a 12 Month Space Flight Exposure (Twins Study – Smith) investigation provides a database of biochemical analyses from blood and urine samples.
  • The analyses reflect a broad set of nutritional and physiological variables that may be altered as a result of the spaceflight environment (including diet, stress, and weightlessness).
  • Collecting data on the ground-based twin allows for a more direct comparison of the effects of spaceflight on human biochemistry and physiology.

Description

NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute have instituted a program to compare the effects of spaceflight accumulated over one year and observe changes in the genetic makeup between twin brothers. This project initiates a pilot demonstration focusing on the use of integrated human analyses to better understand the biomolecular responses to the physical, physiological, and environmental stressors associated with spaceflight. The project emphasis is on the collection of biological specimens and psychological testing from one twin in orbit on the International Space Station (ISS)and the collection of corresponding samples and data from his twin on the ground. Sample collection and data analysis occurs before, during and after the one-year mission.
 
The Biochemical Profile: Homozygous Twin Control for a 12 Month Space Flight Exposure (Twins Study – Smith) portion of the overall Twins Study investigation focuses on changes in the biochemical profile associated with the upcoming year-long ISS mission in the space- and earth-bound twin astronauts. The analyses reflect a broad set of nutritional and physiological variables that may be altered as a result of the spaceflight environment (including diet, stress, and weightlessness). Collecting data on the ground-based twin allows for a more direct comparison of the effects of spaceflight on human biochemistry and physiology.

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Applications

Space Applications
A host of biochemical changes occur during spaceflight and they can be affected by individual differences in metabolism, immune function, gastrointestinal flora, genetics, etc. This investigation compares the biochemical profile of an astronaut living in space for one year with the profile of his identical twin brother, who remains on Earth. Results are expected to improve understanding of the extent and time course of biochemical changes during space flight and how those changes relate to diet and other environmental factors. This may allow a better understanding of how humans adapt to spaceflight and could lead to better countermeasures to protect crew health.

Earth Applications
Diet, as well as environmental stress, can cause chemical changes in the body that affect cognitive function, physiology and metabolism, gut flora, the immune system, and genetics. This investigation studies what happens at a biochemical level when an astronaut is exposed to a physically challenging environment and especially focuses on how diet, exercise, and environment can impact these changes. This information may prove useful in the development of new treatments and preventive measures for related health issues on Earth.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols


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Decadal Survey Recommendations

CategoryReference
Animal and Human Biology AH16
Behavioral and Mental Health B3

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Main Twins Study

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Imagery