Navigation Links
Tuberculosis genomes recovered from 200-year old Hungarian mummy

Researchers at the University of Warwick have recovered tuberculosis (TB) genomes from the lung tissue of a 215-year old mummy using a technique known as metagenomics.

The team, led by Professor Mark Pallen, Professor of Microbial Genomics at Warwick Medical School, working with Helen Donoghue at University College London and collaborators in Birmingham and Budapest, sought to use the technique to identify TB DNA in a historical specimen.

The term 'metagenomics' is used to describe the open-ended sequencing of DNA from samples without the need for culture or target-specific amplification or enrichment. This approach avoids the complex and unreliable workflows associated with culture of bacteria or amplification of DNA and draws on the remarkable throughput and ease of use of modern sequencing approaches.

The sample came from a Hungarian woman, Terzia Hausmann, who died aged 28 on 25 December 1797. Her mummified remains were recovered from a crypt in the town of Vc, Hungary. When the crypt was opened in 1994, it was found to contain the naturally mummified bodies of 242 people. Molecular analyses of the chest sample in a previous study confirmed the diagnosis of tuberculosis and hinted that TB DNA was extremely well preserved in her body.

Professor Pallen explained the importance of the breakthrough, "Most other attempts to recover DNA sequences from historical or ancient samples have suffered from the risk of contamination, because they rely on amplification of DNA in the laboratory, plus they have required onerous optimisation of target-specific assays. The beauty of metagenomics is that it provides a simple but highly informative, assumption-free, one-size-fits-all approach that works in a wide variety of contexts. A few months ago we showed that metagenomics allowed us to identify an E. coli outbreak strains from faecal samples and a few weeks ago a similar approach was shown by another group to deliver a leprosy genome from historical material".

The research, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that Terzia Hausmann suffered from a mixed infection with two different strains of the TB bacterium. This information, combined with work on contemporary tuberculosis, highlights the significance of mixed-strain infections, particularly when tuberculosis is highly prevalent.

Professor Pallen added, "It was fascinating to see the similarities between the TB genome sequences we recovered and the genome of a recent outbreak strain in Germany. It shows once more that using metagenomics can be remarkably effective in tracking the evolution and spread of microbes without the need for culture -- in this case, metagenomes revealed that some strain lineages have been circulating in Europe for more than two centuries."


Contact: Luke Harrison
University of Warwick

Related medicine news :

1. A better tool to diagnose tuberculosis
2. Tuberculosis increases the risk of lung cancer mortality in the elderly
3. Dartmouth medical research closes in on new tuberculosis vaccine
4. Alarming Rise Seen in Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
5. Pain drug can kill resistant tuberculosis
6. Stroke drug kills bacteria that cause ulcers and tuberculosis
7. First anti-tuberculosis medicine under USAID-supported PQM program achieves WHO prequalification
8. Tuberculosis and neglected diseases targeted by new center
9. Request A Test Offers $10 off of Tuberculosis Testing this March
10. Genomes show how Staph bacteria gain resistance to last-line drug
11. New Stanford method enables sequencing of fetal genomes using only maternal blood sample
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with a leading ... bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice from parenting experts ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. Patrick Coleman , ... Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital , co-hosted ... similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart damage and progressive ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... substance abuse located in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to ... produced video, available for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... VA (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... an American Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, ... of cruise, destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin upgrades ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... PRMA Plastic Surgery is updating their record books yet again ... free flap breast reconstruction surgery! , “What an accomplishment for the PRMA team, says ... and it’s an honor to have served all of these women.” , PRMA is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country ... report to their offering. --> ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report ... ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ... the  "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Marker Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Competitive ... offering.  --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: