November 16th, 2017

First publication for Genes in Space!

2015 Genes in Space winner Anna-Sophia Boguraev's experiment has been published today in the Nature Publishing Group peer-reviewed journal NPJ Microgravity! The team led by Anna-Sophia showed for the first time that target DNA sequences can be successfully amplified in microgravity under a variety of conditions. The pivotal experiments were carried out by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and their preparation and analysis involved a multidisciplinary team of Genes in Space scientists and engineers from founders miniPCR and Boeing, and collaborators New England Biolabs and Yale University.  

Read Gene in Space's first publication

'Successful Amplification of DNA aboard the International Space Station' (NPJ Microgravity, 2017) to learn more. 

miniPCR in Space

The miniPCR machine used to perform Anna-Sophia's groundbreaking experiment aboard the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

These experiments represent the first DNA amplification ever performed in space. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the gold standard for DNA analysis and is widely used in research and medicine on Earth. However, prior to the inaugural Genes in Space experiment aboard the International Space Station, the technique had not been tested in space. The team’s findings establish that plasmid DNA, zebrafish genomic DNA, and bisulfite-treated DNA can all be amplified in microgravity conditions, using a miniPCR thermal cycler. This proof of concept for targeted detection of DNA sequences during spaceflight lays a foundation for future uses ranging from environmental monitoring to on-orbit diagnostics.

tim peak

Astronaut Tim Peake conducting the first Genes in Space experiments on the International Space Station

The work was carried out under the supervision of Genes in Space co-founder Zeke Alvarez Saavedra, senior author in the Nature paper. Many congratulations to Anna-Sophia, her mentors and co-first authors Holly Christensen and Ashley Bonneau, and the rest of the Genes in Space team on their accomplishments!

See what Anna-Sophia has to say about the news below:

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