Genome-Wide Comparison of Medieval and Modern Mycobacterium leprae
2013 (English)In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 341, no 6142, 179-183 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Leprosy was endemic in Europe until the Middle Ages. Using DNA array capture, we have obtained genome sequences of Mycobacterium leprae from skeletons of five medieval leprosy cases from the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark. In one case, the DNA was so well preserved that full de novo assembly of the ancient bacterial genome could be achieved through shotgun sequencing alone. The ancient M. leprae sequences were compared with those of 11 modern strains, representing diverse genotypes and geographic origins. The comparisons revealed remarkable genomic conservation during the past 1000 years, a European origin for leprosy in the Americas, and the presence of an M. leprae genotype in medieval Europe now commonly associated with the Middle East. The exceptional preservation of M. leprae biomarkers, both DNA and mycolic acids, in ancient skeletons has major implications for palaeomicrobiology and human pathogen evolution.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 341, no 6142, 179-183 p.
Archaeology Natural Sciences Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92800DOI: 10.1126/science.1238286ISI: 000321965300044OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92800DiVA: diva2:642750
European Research Council (ERC-APGREID); Carl Zeiss Foundation; Fondation Raoul Follereau; Swiss National Science Foundation; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Priority Program 1335 Scalable Visual Analytics; Central Innovation Program KF2701103BZ1; Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes; Excellence Cluster Inflammation at Interfaces; Medical Faculty of the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, a British Academy Small Research Grant; Leverhulme Trust F/00094/BL; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 756-2011-0501 2013-08-232013-08-202013-08-23Bibliographically approved