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:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) ... Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 ... sm . In addition, CHS previously earned a ... using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... level of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access System Market ... the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by 2025. ... for all the given segments on global as well as regional ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) ... and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... website as part of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new ... broaden its reach, as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the second time ... US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to Washington, D.C. ... US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education in ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... DALLAS , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm ... IoT Strategy, will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , ... key trends in the residential home security market and how smart safety ... ... "The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: