Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Genome-Wide Comparison of Medieval and Modern Mycobacterium leprae
Show others and affiliations
2013 (English)In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 341, no 6142, 179-183 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.
National Category
Archaeology Natural Sciences Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92800DOI: 10.1126/science.1238286ISI: 000321965300044OAI: diva2:642750


Funding Agencies:

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 

Available from: 2013-08-23 Created: 2013-08-20 Last updated: 2013-08-23Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Economou, ChristosKjellström, Anna
By organisation
Archaeological Research LaboratoryOsteoarchaeological Research Laboratory
In the same journal
ArchaeologyNatural SciencesEngineering and Technology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 37 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link