Life after death? Some genes turn on after we die, and we don’t know why

j x i stary phcuqffzqja
Image: Pixabay

“We really know nothing about what happens when you die,” says Peter Noble, a former professor at the University of Alabama. Noble knows firsthand that surprises await scientists studying the end of life: he helped discover that long-dormant genes can spring into action hours or even days after an organism dies.

These discoveries could give us a better understanding of how genes work when we’re still alive, and they might help improve medical procedures like organ transplants. “Knowing how organs change on a molecular level after the death of the body … could maybe help to improve the practices for organ transplantation or organ preservation,” says [researcher Roderic] Guigó.

Related article:  Human brains have been shrinking since the Stone Age. We don't know why

The other big potential application of their studies, say Guigó and Noble, is in forensic science. The researchers found that different genes activate at different time intervals after death—one might regularly kick in six hours post-mortem, whereas another might fire up 24 hours later. Forensic scientists might be able to apply this information to make more accurate estimates of time of death.

While the reason for the reactivation of these genes remains elusive, what’s clear is that death is a more nuanced process than previously thought. 

Read full, original post: After You Die, These Genes Come to Life

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend