Post-Mortem Tissue Gene Expression Predicts Time of Death

Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona demonstrated that alterations in gene expression in different tissues triggered by death can be used to predict the time of death of a person. Their research was published in Nature communications.

The research team lead, Roderic Guigo, showed that using tissue samples that are easy to obtain, like lung or skin tissue, the post-mortem interval can be calculated with significant accuracy. Such a finding yields profound implications for the field of forensic analysis.

Pedro Ferreira, a CRG Alumnus who is currently at the University of Porto’s Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology, mentioned, "We found that many genes change expression over relatively short post-mortem intervals, in a largely tissue-specific manner. This information helps us to better understand variation and also allows us to identify the transcriptional events triggered by death in an organism".