Navigation Links
Excavated Jericho bones may help Israeli-Palestinian-German team combat tuberculosis
Date:7/14/2008

Six-thousand year old bones excavated in Jericho may help a joint Israeli-Palestinian-German research group combat tuberculosis.

According to Prof. Mark Spigelman of the Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is leading the Israeli team, the bones, which were all excavated by Dr. Kathleen Kenyon between fifty and seventy years ago, will be tested for tuberculosis, leprosy, leishmania and malaria. However, the primary focus will be tuberculosis.

Spigelman is known for his pioneering studies of ancient diseases (palaeoepidemiology) found on mummified bodies and human remains from Hungary and Korea to Sudan, in his quest to provide answers to the development of diseases affecting us today, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and malaria.

'TB still the biggest killer'

Tuberculosis - or TB - is a deadly infectious bacterial disease that usually attacks the lungs. Acknowledged as a disease of crowds, it is transmitted from human to human living in close contact.

Dating back thousands of years, tuberculosis was well known in antiquity. However, according to Spigelman, it is still the biggest killer even today. One-third of the world's current population has been infected by tuberculosis, resulting, in recent years, in approximately three million deaths per year.

Why Jericho?

While the origins of tuberculosis and its evolution remain unclear, it is thought it came from the first villages and small towns in the Fertile Crescent region about 9-10,000 years ago. Jericho is one of the earliest towns on earth, dating back to 9,000 B.C., and so a lot of communicable - or town - diseases would have had a good start in this community.

By examining human and animal bones from this site, the researchers will be able to see how the first people living in a crowded situation developed the diseases of crowds and how this affected the disease through changes in DNA of both the microbes and the people.

The most significant results of this research will come from a comparison between those data for humans and corresponding animal remains which may allow the identification of animal-human vectors and their interaction.

How can this research help us today?

Preliminary work suggests that there is sufficient DNA in the bone samples to make a contribution to our understanding of the origin and development of microbial disease which could provide crucial information in the evolution of tuberculosis.

Spigelman believes that knowing how a disease developed 6,000 years ago helps us understand what it will do as it continues to evolve, and will ultimately alter the practice of public health officials in combating it.

Where were the bones until now?

Spigelman came across the long-forgotten bones while examining mummies at Sydney University's Nicholson Museum.

"They told me they had lots of boxes of bones and didn't know what they were because they'd been deposited there fifty years earlier by an anthropologist who'd worked with Dr. Kathleen Kenyon who'd been excavating at Jericho. When I examined them, I recognized that these were the bones from Jericho, and I told them not throw them out!"

Some of the bones, which were then brought to Israel by Spigelman while on a Sir Zelman Cowan Fund fellowship, will be studied along with other bones from Jericho that have been contributed by the Duckworth Collection at Cambridge University who have agreed to participate in the project.

Israeli-Palestinian-German cooperation

The research, which is being sponsored by a grant from the German Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), will be conducted by the Hebrew University, Al Quds University and the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich. In Israel, Ph.D. and master's students from both Al-Quds and the Hebrew Universities will devote their time exclusively to this project.

According to Spigelman, the project will also help the Palestinians develop the technology and set up their own ancient DNA lab at Al Quds University.

This is one of eleven trilateral research projects at the Hebrew University involving Palestinian, Israeli and German cooperation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rebecca Zeffert
rebeccaz@savion.huji.ac.il
972-054-882-0661
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Fossils excavated from Bahamian blue hole may give clues of early life
2. New research on structure of bones raises questions for treatment of osteoporosis
3. Ancient fish bones reveal impacts of global warming beneath the sea
4. Where and why humans made skates out of animal bones
5. Natural chemical found in broccoli helps combat skin blistering disease
6. UNCCD recognizes importance of satellites for combating desertification
7. Understanding, combating foodborne pathogens E. coli 0157 and salmonella
8. HATS off to combat asthma
9. Researchers combat slowing yields with targeted fertilizer applications
10. Specially-designed soils could help combat climate change
11. New formula for combating the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/20/2017)... (NYSE: DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead of ... Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in May ... boarding process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled in ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ARMONK, N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... IBM ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy ... combined with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances ... breaches. With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell ... the Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional ... in Genoa, Italy . The first 30 robots will ... USA . The technology was developed and patented at ... IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro investment from ... click: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... SPIE, the ... laboratories — the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, the Manstein Lab in the Cutaneous ... Beckman Laser Institute at University of California, Irvine — and the Hillenkamp family ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 10, 2017 , ... ... the stock market news outlet had initiated coverage on Next Group Holdings, Inc. ... and underserved consumer markets geared toward those that cannot engage in traditional banking ...
(Date:8/8/2017)... ... August 08, 2017 , ... HumanZyme ... in human cells, today announced the launch of HumanKine® Interferon beta ... I family of interferons that activate Th1-type innate immune responses against viral and bacterial ...
(Date:8/8/2017)... ... 08, 2017 , ... Myoderm , a global clinical trial drug supply ... announcement comes on the heels of the opening of Myoderm’s European warehouse facility earlier ... to adding staff and establishing operations to support its customers around the world. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: