June 26, 2016

"We assume that all biological processes come to an end when we die, but new research shows that many genes remain active for up to four days following clinical death."

gizmodo: These zombie genes can’t bring a person back to life, but this discovery has serious implications for forensics and organ donor recipients. by George Dvorsky

'A pair of new studies, both of which are still undergoing peer review, are teasing our conceptions of death and what goes on in our bodies after we die. University of Washington biologist Peter Noble and his pals have shown that certain parts of the body remain active even after the rest of it has come to a grinding halt. In future, these insights could be used by scientists who are seeking to improve the way that donated organs are preserved, and by forensic investigators seeking to determine when a person was killed.

'As Mitch Leslie points out in Science Magazine, previous work on human cadavers demonstrated that some genes remain active after death, but we had no idea as to the extent of this strange phenomenon. By analyzing the tissue of recently deceased animals, Noble and his colleagues managed to pinpoint hundreds of genes that were still functioning in the days—yes days—following death. If the same thing applies to us—and there’s no reason to believe it doesn’t—it could change the way we perceive the recently deceased and how we define death.'

"Thanatotranscriptome: genes actively expressed after organismal death" by Alexander E Pozhitkov, et al, here

"Accurate Predictions of Postmortem Interval Using Linear Regression Analyses of Gene Meter Expression Data" by M Colby Hunter, et al, here

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