If there life after death? Well from a purely scientific point of view it appears as though yes, there is.
A study by researchers at the University of Washington found that even after death, there is still a lot of activity going on under the surface.
Looking at both mice and zebra fish, the team found that just half an hour after death hundreds of genes showed a significant increase in activity.
After 48 hours 1,063 genes had come to life and rather than being random sequences, the team noticed that it looked to be intentional.
One possible explanation of this is that the increased activity is simply the body going through a 'shut down' process.
While alive, the body uses considerable amounts of energy to keep our DNA incredibly tightly packed and organised.
Once we die however this DNA starts to unravel, revealing genes which had been previously kept dormant.
Now free from their bonds, these genes get to work, preparing to shut the body down.
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It's not fully known whether this same process happens in humans, however the study does seem to suggest that it takes place in all organismal death.
If true, our greater understanding of how the body dies could have profound implications for organ transplants.
This increased knowledge could lead to safer procedures, better matches and ultimately help us carry out a greater number of successful transplants.
As New Scientist points out there are other implications for the research. By being able to create an accurate timeline of what happens after 'death' forensic scientists would be able to pinpoint the time of death to mere minutes, rather than hours.
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