miércoles, 11 de julio de 2012

The worm that feels at home in space

Astronauts return to Earth weakened and unsteady after weightlessness and radiation in space take their toll on the human body. New research now shows that the humble nematode worm adapts much better to spaceflight.
 When ESA astronaut André Kuipers first went to space in 2004 to the International Space Station he took with him some microscopicCaenorhabditis elegans worms. 
An international team of scientists from the US, Japan, France and Canada were interested in seeing how C. elegans reacts to living in space.
This species was chosen because it was the first multicellular life form to have its full genetic structure mapped.
Afterwards, researchers found the astronaut worms showed less toxic proteins in their muscles than if they had stayed on Earth, according to results published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports recently.


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