Scientists Caught ‘Undead’ Genes Coming Alive After Death

What really happens to us after death? Once a person stops breathing, and their heart ceases to pump blood, they’re what doctors consider “clinically dead.” On a biological level, the eventual decomposition of cells, organs, and brain tissue signal its final and irreversible stages.

But what if that’s not actually the end? Two new studies claim that hundreds of genes actually kept expressing—and, in some cases, become more active—after death occurred. This came as a surprise to the researchers, because forensic pathologists have long suspected that gene activity degrades postmortem, which is why their rate of change is sometimes used to calculate time of death.

According to the lead author of both papers, microbiologist Peter Noble of the University of Washington, the discovery of “undead” genes could help to improve the preservation of organs destined for transplantation. The two studies are currently available on the pre-print server bioRxiv, and it’s important to note that neither have undergone peer review yet.

Read more at : http://motherboard.vice.com/read/scientists-caught-undead-genes-coming-alive-after-death?utm_source=mbfb

Related : http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/06/undead-genes-come-alive-days-after-life-ends

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