Reanimated Genes Genes That Activate After Dead

Nowadays, we talk about zombies a lot. From TV shows, blockbuster movies, sci-fi novels, and games, the chance is it probably got a zombie theme. As crazy as it may sound, sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Zombies are notorious in pop culture and known as the undead, a creature who comes back to life after death. In reality, of course, this is impossible because when your brain pronounces death, your body functions are shutting down permanently. There is no way to get back from that. That can be debunked now. What if some of our genes activate hours after we die? Wouldn’t it call a zombie gene? As strange as it sounds, that is a fact. Some genes are activated or reanimated after your body shuts down or is pronounced dead.

Before we go any further on this subject, let’s get back to what gene actually is. Gene is a unit of genetic information that occupies a fixed position (locus) on a chromosome. A gene is a set of chemical instructions composed of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) telling the body how to do something. When a gene is activated, those chemical instructions get transcribed by our RNA, and our cells can then use that copied sequence as a scaffold to build complex molecules. Picture it this way, if a gene is a blueprint of a house, then activation is like buying all the materials you need to build that house. 

Some strange coincidence led to another researcher finding out that some genes begin to activate after death. Coincidentally, scientists from the University of Washington found that about one per cent of zebrafish that had died became active and came back to life as though the cells were preparing to build something. 

This discovery, of course, responded with scepticism. The idea that genes are active again after an organism dies is unprecedented and against the laws of nature. So the researchers wrote it off as a mistake with their instrumentation. But repeated tests in fish and mice continued to bear out the impossible: genes activating hours or even days after an organism dies.

While in Spain, more precisely Barcelona’s Center for Genomic Regulation, researcher Roderic Guigó also found post-mortem gene activity, this time in humans. Noble, who is a researcher from the University of Washington who found active genes in zebrafish, said, “We were saved when the group from the Barcelona genome institute covered the paper on humans because they … proved the same thing,” ]

Noble and His Team had already published the paper about their discovery when Roderic Guigó made the same discovery in dead human tissue. Guigó and his team studied gene regulation by analyzing tissues from people who donated their bodies after death. And for that reason, Guigó wasn’t too surprised by his team’s findings. “It was more or less what we were seeing,” Guigó said.

Of course, this new discovery positively impacts the medical world and science. Guigó said, “Knowing how organs change on a molecular level after the death of the body … could help to improve organ transplantation practices or organ preservation,” This can be used to optimize organ transplant procedures.

Based on an interview conducted by Guigó and Noble for Discover magazine by Kate Golembiewski, “The other big potential application of their studies 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 could apply this information to make more accurate estimates of time of death.”

The big question is, Why it’s only some parts of genes reactive after an organism dies? It will remain a mystery. 

Still quoted from the article After You Die, These Genes Come To Life from Discover Magazine by Kate Golembiewski: Other genes that activate after death are related to cancers. In the absence of other genes that generally inhibit them, these genes seize the opportunity to reactivate, like teenagers throwing a party when their parents are out of town.

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