Nearly 2,000 years later, scientists map the genome of a Pompeii resident health news


By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter, health day reporter

(health day)

FRIDAY, May 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The DNA of a man who died in Pompeii, Italy, after the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius reveals startling new secrets about the ancient world.

Scientists recently completed the first successfully sequenced human genome from a Pompeii victim. So far, only short sections of human and animal DNA have been sequenced stays in Pompeii.

For the groundbreaking study, published March 26, Scientific Reports, A team led by Gabriele Scorrano, an assistant professor of geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, examined the remains of two people found in the Craftsman’s house in Pompeii.

Based on the shape, structure, and length of the skeletons, the researchers determined that one belonged to a 35- to 40-year-old man. The other belonged to a woman in her 50s.

Researchers extracted DNA from both, but were only able to sequence the entire genome from human remains. The woman’s DNA had gaps in sequences.

The man’s DNA was compared to that of 1,030 other ancient and 471 modern West Eurasian peoples. It was most similar among modern central Italians and others who lived in Italy during the Roman Empire, the study found.

However, when scientists analyzed his mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA, they also found clusters of genes commonly found in people from Sardinia but not in others living in Italy during the Roman Empire.

In a journal press release, the authors said this suggests that there may have been high levels of genetic diversity in the Italian peninsula.

Further investigation suggests the man may have had tuberculosis.

It may have been possible to successfully retrieve the ancient DNA, as materials released during the eruption may have protected it from depleting environmental factors, including atmospheric oxygen, the researchers said.

They said the results show the possibility of recovering ancient DNA from human remains from Pompeii and provide further insight into people’s genetic history and way of life.

The US National Human Genome Research Institute has more on this DNA sequencing.

SOURCE: Scientific ReportsPress release, May 26, 2022

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