Health and Medicine
Date: June, 2016
Source: Science Alert; Science
A team of researchers from the University of Washington found that genes continue to be active in mice and zebra fish even days after their death. This research was triggered by a previous finding that genes in human cadavers were still active more than 12 hours after death. What they noted was that the gene activity after death was not sputtering but rather they became more active after death. In the case of zebra fish, “548 genes retained their function for four whole days after the animals had died before showing any signs of winding down.” This finding raises the question on when really is the time of death. It also has implications on the state of the organs after death when they are being considered for transplant.
What surprised researchers was the fact that the genes which were activated after death were those which were active during the formation of the embryo and which become inactive during one’s lifetime.
- Science, June 22, 2016; http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/06/undead-genes-come-alive-days-after-life-ends
- Science Alert, June 23, 2018; https://www.sciencealert.com/hundreds-of-genes-caught-sparking-to-life-2-days-after-death