DNA sequencing in microgravity. It just happened. Astronaut Kate Rubins, who also has a background in molecular biology, conducted the test this weekend aboard the International Space Station.
You might be wondering why we need to test the DNA of astronauts while on missions, beyond that it just sounds cool. Well, according to NASA, it’s to help astronauts diagnose an illness, or potentially identify microbes that might identify a health threat.
The sequencing-tech, the MinION, was developed by a company called Oxford Nanopore, which is known for its small, fast and durable instruments that can function in the harshest conditions.
“Welcome to systems biology in space,” said Rubins in a statement, after the first few DNA molecules had been successfully sequenced.
— NASA Astronauts (@NASA_Astronauts) August 29, 2016