Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Iceman's Genome Cometh

I don't know why this fascinates me so, but the Tyrolean mummy they call the "Iceman" has made (or unmade) more science careers than you can shake a stick at. Genome sequencing reveals Iceman Was a Medical Mess

Earlier computer scans had revealed Ötzi's severe arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. But the new analysis shows that Ötzi had a genetic predisposition to the condition, despite the fact that as a hunter-gatherer he had none of what are currently believed to be the relevant risk factors, such as being overweight, getting too little exercise, and smoking or drinking.... He was also the first known carrier of Lyme disease: the sequencing yielded genes from the disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

I particularly enjoy the way the stories keep changing: Iceman May Have Been Buried in a Ceremony

Researchers have long thought that Ötzi, the 5000-year-old Iceman found in the Alps in 1991, died wounded and alone, perhaps the victim of a raging blizzard. But a provocative new paper tells a radically different story. The first comprehensive map of Ötzi's body and belongings suggests he was ceremoniously buried by his fellows in the warm summer months.

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