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2000-year-old pathogen genomes reconstructed from metagenomic analysis of Egyptian mummified individuals


Abstract

Background

Recent advances in sequencing have facilitated large-scale analyses of the metagenomic composition of different samples, including the environmental microbiome of air, water, and soil, as well as the microbiome of living humans and other animals. Analyses of the microbiome of ancient human samples may provide insights into human health and disease, as well as pathogen evolution, but the field is still in its very early stages and considered highly challenging.
Results

The metagenomic and pathogen content of Egyptian mummified individuals from different time periods was investigated via genetic analysis of the microbial composition of various tissues. The analysis of the dental calculus’ microbiome identified Red Complex bacteria, which are correlated with periodontal diseases. From bone and soft tissue, genomes of two ancient pathogens, a 2200-year-old Mycobacterium leprae strain and a 2000-year-old human hepatitis B virus, were successfully reconstructed.
Conclusions

The results show the reliability of metagenomic studies on Egyptian mummified individuals and the potential to use them as a source for the extraction of ancient pathogen DNA.

Abstract

Background

Recent advances in sequencing have facilitated large-scale analyses of the metagenomic composition of different samples, including the environmental microbiome of air, water, and soil, as well as the microbiome of living humans and other animals. Analyses of the microbiome of ancient human samples may provide insights into human health and disease, as well as pathogen evolution, but the field is still in its very early stages and considered highly challenging.
Results

The metagenomic and pathogen content of Egyptian mummified individuals from different time periods was investigated via genetic analysis of the microbial composition of various tissues. The analysis of the dental calculus’ microbiome identified Red Complex bacteria, which are correlated with periodontal diseases. From bone and soft tissue, genomes of two ancient pathogens, a 2200-year-old Mycobacterium leprae strain and a 2000-year-old human hepatitis B virus, were successfully reconstructed.
Conclusions

The results show the reliability of metagenomic studies on Egyptian mummified individuals and the potential to use them as a source for the extraction of ancient pathogen DNA.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biotechnology, Plant Science, General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, Physiology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Structural Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:1 December 2020
Deposited On:04 Sep 2020 13:48
Last Modified:01 Oct 2020 16:53
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1741-7007
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-020-00839-8
PubMed ID:32859198
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID845479
  • : Project TitleLEPVORS - Identification and characterization of new drug resistance and host adaptation mechanisms in Mycobacterium leprae

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