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Genes remain active, or even switch on, after death

| | June 24, 2016

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Does death really mean the end of our existence? Great thinkers from Plato to Blue Öyster Cult have weighed in on the question. Now, a study shows that that at least one aspect of life continues: Genes remain turned on days after animals die.

At first, researchers assumed that genes would shut down shortly after death, like the parts of a car that has run out of gas. What they found instead was that hundreds of genes ramped up. Although most of these genes upped their activity in the first 24 hours after the animals expired and then tapered off, in the fish some genes remained active 4 days after death.

“What’s jaw-dropping is that developmental genes are turned on after death,” said microbiologist Peter Noble. The team also found that several genes that promote cancer became more active. That result could explain why people who receive transplants from the recently deceased have a higher risk of cancer.

Read full, original post: ‘Undead’ genes come alive days after life ends

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