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Open AccessReview

Reptiles in Space Missions: Results and Perspectives

1
Research Institute of Human Morphology, Ministry of Science and Higher Education RF, Tsurupi street, 3, 117418 Moscow, Russia
2
Research and Educational Center for Wild Animal Rehabilitation, Faculty of Biology, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1/12, 119899 Moscow, Russia
3
Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography of FSRC “Crystallography and Photonics”, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Ave, 59, 119333 Moscow, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(12), 3019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20123019
Received: 7 May 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation of Living Organisms in Space: From Mammals to Plants)
Reptiles are a rare model object for space research. However, some reptile species demonstrate effective adaptation to spaceflight conditions. The main scope of this review is a comparative analysis of reptile experimental exposure in weightlessness, demonstrating the advantages and shortcomings of this model. The description of the known reptile experiments using turtles and geckos in the space and parabolic flight experiments is provided. Behavior, skeletal bones (morphology, histology, and X-ray microtomography), internal organs, and the nervous system (morphology, histology, and immunohistochemistry) are studied in the spaceflight experiments to date, while molecular and physiological results are restricted. Therefore, the results are discussed in the scope of molecular data collected from mammalian (mainly rodents) specimens and cell cultures in the parabolic and orbital flights and simulated microgravity. The published data are compared with the results of the gecko model studies after the 12–44.5-day spaceflights with special reference to the unique peculiarities of the gecko model for the orbital experiments. The complex study of thick-toed geckos after three spaceflights, in which all geckos survived and demonstrated effective adaptation to spaceflight conditions, was performed. However, future investigations are needed to study molecular mechanisms of gecko adaptation in space. View Full-Text
Keywords: spaceflight adaptation; unmanned spacecraft; Foton-M2; Foton-M3; Bion-M1; Foton-M4; thick-toed gecko (Chondrodactylus turneri); ornate day gecko (Phelsuma ornata); X-ray microtomography spaceflight adaptation; unmanned spacecraft; Foton-M2; Foton-M3; Bion-M1; Foton-M4; thick-toed gecko (Chondrodactylus turneri); ornate day gecko (Phelsuma ornata); X-ray microtomography
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gulimova, V.; Proshchina, A.; Kharlamova, A.; Krivova, Y.; Barabanov, V.; Berdiev, R.; Asadchikov, V.; Buzmakov, A.; Zolotov, D.; Saveliev, S. Reptiles in Space Missions: Results and Perspectives. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 3019.

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