Published:  12:00 AM, 28 January 2017

Genes help scientists confirm 'life' after death

Genes help scientists confirm 'life' after death The research, published in the journal Open Biology, found that gene transcription linked to embryonic development increases. -AP

Experts have discovered, after a person dies, there are certain genes that actually kick into life and fight to bring the person back from death. New research suggests that gene expression - when information in DNA is used for instructions to create molecules such as proteins - increases in certain genes as they attempt to essentially resuscitate the host.

The study monitored zebrafish and mice, but the experts believe that these phenomena occur in humans too. Senior author Peter Noble of the University of Washington and Alabama State University told Seeker: "Not all cells are 'dead' when an organism dies. "Different cell types have different life spans, generation times and resilience to extreme stress.

"It is likely that some cells remain alive and are attempting to repair themselves, specifically stem cells." The team found that gene transcription - which is the initial stage of gene expression and is linked to stress and cancer - can occur up to days after the death. The research, published in the journal Open Biology, found that gene transcription linked to embryonic development increases.

Embryonic development is a characteristic of very early human development, meaning that parts of the body are reverting to the very basics as it attempts to bring the person back to life. The implications of the study are insightful for scientists as it will allow them to better study organs for transplant. Noble continued: "It might be useful to prescreen transplant organs for increased cancer gene transcripts."

He also added that it will allow scientists to better understand the process of death. The University of Washington professor added: "Like the twin towers on 9/11, we can get a  lot of information on how a system collapses by studying the sequence of events as they unfold through time.

"In the case of the twin towers, we saw a systematic collapse of one floor at a time that affected the floors underneath it. "This gives us an idea of the structural foundations supporting the building and we see a similar pattern in the shutdown of animals."

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