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Genes In Space: A National STEM Competition Launching DNA Experiments to the ISS


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The Genes in Space competition challenges students in 7-12th grades to design an experiment that can solve a space exploration problem through DNA analysis. This session will present the results from last year's winning experiment that tested the polymerase chain reaction to study epigenetic changes aboard the ISS.

Published in: Science
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Genes In Space: A National STEM Competition Launching DNA Experiments to the ISS

  1. 1. #GenesinSpace 1
  2. 2. #GenesinSpace 2 Agenda 8:05 Genes in Space Overview Scott Copeland, Boeing 8:10 PCR Science & Technology Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra Ph.D., miniPCR 8:15 My Experiment in Space Anna-Sophia Boguraev, 2015 Winner
  3. 3. #GenesinSpace 3 An idea is born on Boston Drydock
  4. 4. #GenesinSpace 4 Genes in Space
  5. 5. #GenesinSpace 5
  6. 6. #GenesinSpace 6
  7. 7. #GenesinSpace 7 DNA Technology has transformed our world PCR Text Text Forensics Food and agriculture Consumer genomics Molecular diagnostics Personalized medicine Human evolution Text Text Text Text
  8. 8. #GenesinSpace 8 7-12th graders explore a real-world question
  9. 9. #GenesinSpace 9 miniPCR: Part of the Space Exploration toolkit
  10. 10. #GenesinSpace 10 If I were an astronaut…
  11. 11. #GenesinSpace 11 Spaceflight impairs astronauts’ immune response • Overall immune depression • Decreased Interferonγ (Ifnγ):Interlukin-10 (IL-10) ratio  T-helper 2 (Th2) shift Naïve CD4+ Precursor Th1 Th2 Promotes Cell-Mediated Immunity: lFNγ IL-2 TNFβ Promotes Humoral Immunity: IL-4 IL-10 IL-6 Background
  12. 12. #GenesinSpace 12 Background Epigenetics: external DNA modifications DNA methylation • CG dinucleotides Source:
  13. 13. #GenesinSpace 13 Promoter DNA methylation silences gene transcription DNA methylation aids Th cell differentiation Previous research indicated spaceflight-associated changes in DNA methylation Naïve CD4+ Precursor Th1 Th2 CNS-6 INFγ IL-4 P1 IL-4 CNS-6 INFγ IL-4 P1 IL-4 CNS-6 INFγ IL-4 P1 IL-4 Background
  14. 14. #GenesinSpace 14 Can we amplify DNA in space? Can we amplify bisulfite converted DNA in space? Can we use these techniques to assay immune related genes? Goals
  15. 15. #GenesinSpace 15 Results
  16. 16. #GenesinSpace 16
  17. 17. #GenesinSpace 17
  18. 18. #GenesinSpace 18 Lateral gene transfer in bacterial biofilms, MA 2016 Genes in Space Finalists Measuring telomere length, NY Genetic drift in microgravity, OK Viral reactivation during spaceflight, MA Monitor oxidative stress on-orbit, MI