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Plant Embryos and Fidelity of Cell Division in Space (9305010 2_2)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Developmental biology
Plant biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Hemerocallis Species: Daylily



Preliminary results from experiments flown on the STS-47 and STS-65 missions showed genetic abnormalities occurring in plants during space flight. Because ground-based studies indicate that water related activity can impact the integrity of chromosomes, it is possible that the results were not due necessarily to microgravity effects upon the plants, but rather to indirect effects mediated by water availability to plant cells. This experiment tested whether the cell division changes observed in the daylily embryo cultures and plantlets resulted directly from microgravity or indirectly through water availability.

It has been hypothesized that the chromosomal and nuclear abnormalities encountered in various plants exposed to space are due to a combination of factors. These include the biological status of the systems and the way in which they are grown, exposed to, and ultimately, the way in which they experience multiple stresses. The central idea is that the extent to which space-specific changes become manifest is dependent on the extent of pre-existing stresses in the system. This has been suggested in a variety of plant species grown in space, but has been particularly amenable to study using an in vitro developing daylily embryoid system.

The following questions were addressed by this experiment: Can the mitotic process and chromosome morphology in developing plant cells be predictably modified (or not) in the space environment by deliberately providing optimized and/or non-optimized environments? Can adverse alterations in osmotic status and water relations (water stress) pre-dispose cells to become damaged cytologically in the space environment?

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Krikorian AD. Embryogenic somatic cell cultures of daylily (Hemerocallis): a system to probe spaceflight-associated mitotic disturbances. In: Suge H, ed. Plants in Space Biology. 1996:111-26.

Krikorian AD. Plants and somatic embryos in space: what have we learned? Gravit Space Biol Bull. 1998;11(2):5-14. []

Krikorian AD. Space stress and genome shock in developing plant cells. Physiol Plant. 1996;98(4):901-8. []

Krikorian AD. Update on space stress and genome shock in developing plant cells. Gravit Space Biol Bull. 1996;10(1):47.

Cell division
Cells, cultured

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Not available

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-78 06/20/1996 07/07/1996 17 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Kennedy Space Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Sylvain Costes
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Protocol / Approach
Not applicable