Tardigrades — tiny creatures, whose amazing survival in the most extreme conditions allows them to easily be even under high ionizing radiation thousands of times higher than the lethal dose for humans. If tardigrades have so sensitive properties, why don’t we use their DNA in order to combine it with our cells and become more resilient during colonization of other planets?
Tardigrades on Mars
Everyone knows that harmful cosmic rays, radiation and weightlessness have a strong negative impact on the health of astronauts during their stay outside of our home planet. Despite this, Chris Mason, a geneticist and Professor of physiology and Biophysics at Cornell University Weil in new York, explored the many different ways of modifying the human body, allowing to overcome the inherent nature of the constraints in order to expand the human species as far as possible in the Solar system. So, one of the most strange and unusual ways, which would be able to protect astronauts in future missions to Mars, could be the inclusion of the DNA of animalcules in human tissue.
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As the portal livescience.comone of the most negative factors having a negative impact on the human body during its stay on the red planet, may be radiation exposure. If scientists could find a way to make human cells more resistant to radiation, the astronauts could stay healthy over a longer time of their location outside of the Earth.
In order to be able to genetically engineer a human with the purpose of better survival on another planet, scientists could try several approaches. So, one of the potential ways of transformation of the human in a slightly different form, could be epigenetic engineering, which is able to turn on or off certain genes in our body.
Another, more unusual way could be combining the DNA of the most “unkillable” creatures of the Earth with human cells. Such an incredible concept was proposed and studied in 2016, when genetic engineering humans for space travel was considered from the point of view of natural variation in human physiology. However, considering the possibility of human transformation to a more stable form, Chris Mason rightly noted that the idea to edit human genes is still controversial and banned in most countries of the world.
However, it is possible to make moral concessions for the sake of research purposes? Share your opinion in our Telegram chat or channel in Yandex.Zen.
Scientists believe that even if humanity at some point decide to abandon the editing of human genes, some abilities of animals can help us find a cure, at least partially covering the damage to the health of astronauts on future generations. Well, who knows, maybe, these amazing creatures will help scientists to find a way not only to heal mankind from disease, but to turn it into a truly interplanetary species.