Genes in tissues of mice and zebrafish found alive even after death

Some genes remain active after death.

Zebrafish (Coourtesy of

By Rakesh Agrawal

“Seeing the death, a necessary end, will come, when it comes,” wrote Shakespeare in Julies Caesar. Not only Shakespeare, but while most writer, thinkers, philosophers treat death an end, a full stop, so does science, almost every organized religion, death is just a coma, at best, a semicolon as they visualize  life beyond death.

And, now, it seems, science is extending a helping hand as a recent research has found a crucial aspect of life continues beyond death as they detected genes remained active days after animals die. Peter Noble, a microbiologist and colleagues found functioning genes in tissues of mice that were dead for two days and four days old dead zebrafish.

American Association for the Advancement of Science takes a note of it.

Many such ‘dead’ genes can ease inflammation, fire up the immune system, and counteracting stress. “It’s jaw-dropping is that developmental genes are turned on after death,” Noble says. These genes normally help sculpt the embryo, but they aren’t needed after birth. One possible explanation is that cellular conditions in newly dead corpses resemble those in embryos. The team also found that several genes that promote cancer became more active. “This is a rare study,” says molecular pharmacologist Ashim Malhotra of Pacific University, Hillsboro, Oregon, “It is important to understand what happens to organs after a person dies, especially if we are going to transplant them.” Life after death will still remain a question mark, but this study will help the scientists get a lot of information about ‘life’ by studying death.

And, there are many genes that remained active after death as in rats, there were 515 such genes that remained totally active for 24 hours after death and in zebrafish, there were as many as 548 such genes and that’s too for four days!

Although, it is a long way to extend this research and found the entire genome structure of a lowly animal, let alone a human beings, that will survive ‘death’ and then, what Jean Paul Satre said about death that it gives us sleep, eternal youth, and immortality, will be falsified.

Until that time, we can say, ‘Death is not an even of this life; you do not live to experience it!”

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