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Weightlessness weighs heavy on genes a fly's perspective
Date:1/31/2012

r. Hill, manager of the Magnetic levitation facility at the University of Nottingham, explained, "Both the magnetic field and altered gravity had an effect on gene regulation for the flies. The results of this can be seen in fly behaviour and in successful reproduction rates. The magnetic field alone was able to disrupt the number of adult flies from a batch of eggs by 60%. However the concerted effort of altered gravity and the magnet had a much more striking effect, reducing egg viability to less than 5%."

Dr Herranz, continued, "The genes most affected by alterations in gravity are responsible for essential cellular processes including metabolism, the immune system, defence against fungi or bacteria, heat response, and cell signalling." This work suggests that the effect of weightlessness on cellular processes and biological systems during prolonged space flight, say the journey to Mars, should not be underestimated.


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Contact: Dr Hilary Glover
hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22370
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert

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