Putative mutations in selected bacterial housekeeping genes in response to space radiation exposure
Space radiation, composed of galactic cosmic rays, solar UV radiation, and solar particle events, may induce adverse changes in the genetic makeup of microorganisms. This study investigates the response of bacterial strains upon exposure to galactic cosmic rays and solar UV radiation through gene mutation identification and analysis. SOS mechanism genes, recA, uvrA, and lexA, are the most expressed gene in the bacterial strains upon exposure to space radiation and used for the study. Sequence alignment tool, MEGA X version 10.2.2, was utilized for the alignment process and analysis. Radiation exposure parameters were also investigated. Solar UV radiation is found to be deleterious since it induces significant mutations in the studied bacterial strain even with short exposure time. The shielding in the ISS is sufficient in reducing cosmic ray exposure, possibly affecting SOS induction. Further in vitro and genomic studies may provide better understanding on the effect of space radiation.