By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Technology
The world's oldest frozen mummy reveals some of his secrets after scientists complete sequencing of nearly his entire genome.
Hikers found Ötzi in 1991 in the Italian Alps. His well-preserved body told researchers that Ötzi had hardened arteries and tooth cavities, fancied tattoos, ate ibex for his last meal, and died with a arrow in his back. Scientists in 2008 gathered that Ötzi likely came from a vanished population - his sequenced mitochondrial DNA shows mutations not carried in present-day people.
The new sequencing, completed by researchers at Italy's Institute for Mummies and the Iceman (yes, that's a real place), uncovers 96% of Ötzi's genome. It comes from DNA in the nuclei of cells harvested from his pelvic bone.
Here are some of the new stats the scientists gathered about Ötzi :
- He had brown eyes and type O blood.
- Lactose didn't sit well with him.
- His closest present-day relatives are in Corsica and Sardinia
They also uncovered some health problems. Ötzi's genes predisposed him to coronary heart disease, which might explain his hardened arteries. Also, portions of the genome for Lyme borreliosis mixed in his DNA suggest he had the earliest known case of Lyme disease.
Head researcher Albert Zink told Nature blogger Ewen Callaway that despite his satisfaction with the findings, he's disappointed the study didn't come out in time for the Iceman Murder Mystery television special.
Images: Nature News and Nature Communications
Feb 29, 2012
Sure, if you want to have a heart attack at 50 instead of 70, be sure to disregard your doc's recommendations. Otzi had hardened arteries at 45. A better diet will *help* prevent and/or minimize heart trouble, not make you immune to it.