Even after someone is declared dead, life continues in the body, suggests a surprising new study with important implications.
Gene expression - when information stored in DNA is converted into instructions for making proteins or other molecules - actually increases in some cases after death, according to the new paper, which tracked postmortem activity and is published in the journal Open Biology.
"Not all cells are 'dead' when an organism dies," senior author Peter Noble of the University of Washington and Alabama State University told Seeker. "Different cell types have different life spans, generation times and resilience to extreme stress."
In fact, some cells seem to fight to live after the organism has died.
"It is likely that some cells remain alive and are attempting to repair themselves, specifically stem cells," Noble said.
Signs of Cellular Life
The international team of scientists, led by Alex Pozhitkov, studied zebrafish and mice and believe that the phenomenon occurs in all animals, including humans.