Publication Date

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Bioinformatics (MSBI)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Phil Heller


Differential gene expression, gene enrichment analysis, microgravity, embryogenesis.


Spaceflight consists of many dangers which adversely affects the health of astronauts through hazards such as microgravity and cosmic radiation. One area that is still poorly understood is how spaceflight impacts human reproductive health. This study aims to shed insight into how microgravity may impact the development of embryos. Differential gene expression analysis was performed via Jupyter Notebook and SLURM scripts and run on SJSU’s HPC server as a method of implementing NASA GeneLab’s RNA-Seq Consensus Pipeline. Data for this project utilized RNA-Seq files for early-stage embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio), stored under GLDS-373. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis was performed to gain a clearer understanding of which types of genes are impacted by microgravity, and to provide greater statistical significance to the differential gene expression results. The findings in this study found that there was a relationship between microgravity and upregulation in genes related to cell proliferation, differentiation, and development. However more studies are required before a mechanism can be identified to explain these observations and risks mitigated for future astronauts and their children. Keywords: Differential gene expression, gene enrichment analysis, microgravity, embryogenesis