Nature Microgravity publication: First PCR in Space

miniPCR is proud to announce that 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 the complete open access article:

Successful Amplification of DNA aboard the International Space Station (Boguraev et al., NPJ Microgravity, 2017).

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.

The miniPCR machine used to perform Anna-Sophia’s groundbreaking experiment aboard the International Space Station (Image: NASA)

Astronaut Tim Peake conducting the first PCR experiments on the International Space Station using a miniPCR

The work was carried out under the supervision of miniPCR 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!

And see what Anna-Sophia has to say about the news: