Science fiction is turning into reality. With humanity plans Return to the moon in this decade And in the next, ambitions to travel to Mars, we need to figure out how to keep astronauts healthy for these years of missions. One solution that has long been resolved by science fiction is suspending animation, or keeping humans in the sleep of hibernation for a period of time traveling.
We can turn to nature for guidance and possible solutions to this challenge.
It’s cold and dark outside
Space is unforgivable. In this icy void of darkness, there is no oxygen, no gravity, and no protection against the constant shower of cosmic radiation. Humans have Evolved under a constant gravity bridge – So when you take people into space, strange and dangerous things happen in their bodies.
However, scientists and engineers working with astronauts on the International Space Station have innovated and continue to solve these problems. For example, we know that spaceflight leads to Loss of muscle and bone density, Because our bones and muscles do not need to work against the pull of gravity to move us around.
These physical challenges are compounded by the technical difficulties of sending many humans on these long expeditions, where they face the logistical complexities of packing and allocating sufficient provisions and supplies, as well as extreme isolation in deep space. There are social issues of coping as well.
Suspended animation and biostasis Cryoslapse can remove science fiction images of humans in pods. If we can put humans in a state of suspended animation by being too slow or stopping metabolic activity altogether, we can reduce the issues surrounding space travel: time, health concerns, spacecraft Size and supply allocation.
But how can we safely erase humans into hibernation and then bring them back when the time comes, without wasting muscle and bone, to name a few challenges? These are the questions United States Department of Defense And other space agencies are actively exploring.
Animals that spend the winter in suspended animation – hibernation conditions – do not experience significant muscle and bone wasting. Their existence and ability to reverse biological processes that seem essential to life may be critical to creating the conditions necessary for human hibernation strategy to survive long-distance voyages to distant stars. Can pave
In fact, the use of biostasis has already been proposed Transport of large number of passengers on Mars, Where crew members will be kept with specially formulated total nutritional fluids while they “sleep”.
How do we translate hibernation in animals to hibernation in humans? Recent work has revealed the potential in animals that are just as developed as humans: Hibernating primates. What is unique about these primates is that when resources are scarce and temperatures cool, they can enter a state of hibernation, and do so without seriously lowering their body temperature. .
One of the driving forces behind this peak potential is microRNAs – small fragments of RNA that act as molecular gene silencers. MicroRNAs can regulate gene expression without altering the genetic code. By studying the microRNA strategy these animals use, we can use this genetic on / off switch for rapid, reversible changes that can aid hibernation in humans.
Our work on gray mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) show Show microRNAs control which live on biological processes To protect animals and those who are off to save energy. Some of these microRNAs were found to deal with muscle wasting during hibernation. Other roles include preventing cell death, slowing down or inhibiting unnecessary cell growth, and quickly turning fuel stores from mine sugars to slow-fat.
While microRNAs are a promising avenue of research, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Our lab is also looking at other aspects of how primates hibernate, such as how lemurs are. Protect their cells from stress, Regulates global gene levels, and how They store enough energy to avoid hibernation.
Our lab also looks at how microRNAs help protect animals from other extreme environmental stresses Including cold, lack of oxygen and hot, dry climate. There is no stress beyond the void of space, and we hope that our research will contribute to new RNA-based interventions that are attracting attention and emerging as viable human medical sciences.
Space is within our reach, and studying what is already on Earth will help us get there.
By this article Hanen hajj-warts, PhD candidate in molecular biology, Carlton University; Aline Ingelson-Filpula, M.Sc. Candidates in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Carlton University, And Kenneth B, Professor of Biochemistry, Carlton University Republished from chit chat Under a Creative Commons license. read the Original article.