Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prehistoric Origins Of Stomach Ulcers Uncovered

Date:
February 8, 2007
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that the ubiquitous bacteria that causes most painful stomach ulcers has been present in the human digestive system since modern man migrated from Africa over 60,000 years ago. They compared DNA sequence patterns of humans and the Helicobacter pylori bacteria now known to cause most stomach ulcers and found that the genetic differences between human populations that arose as they dispersed from Eastern Africa over thousands of years are mirrored in H. pylori.

A cell of H.pylori, a bacterial pathogen of the human stomach. The curved shape of the cell, and its bundle of flagella which enable it to wriggle through mucus covering the cells lining the stomach, can be seen clearly.
Credit: Image Dr. Charles Penn, University of Birmingham

An international team of scientists has discovered that the ubiquitous bacteria that causes most painful stomach ulcers has been present in the human digestive system since modern man migrated from Africa over 60,000 years ago. The research, published online (7 February) by the journal Nature, not only furthers our understanding of a disease causing bacteria but also offers a new way to study the migration and diversification of early humans.

Related Articles


The international research collaboration was led by scientists from the University of Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, and the Hanover Medical School. The researchers compared DNA sequence patterns of humans and the Helicobacter pylori bacteria now known to cause most stomach ulcers. They found that the genetic differences between human populations that arose as they dispersed from Eastern Africa over thousands of years are mirrored in H. pylori.

Human DNA analysis has shown that along the major land routes out of Africa human populations become genetically isolated - the further from Eastern Africa a population is the more different genetically it is compared to other human populations. Other research has shown gradual differences in European populations, presumed to be the result of Neolithic farmers moving northwards. The international H. pylori research team found almost exactly the same genetic distribution patterns in their results.

The scientists combined their genetic analysis with a computer simulation the modelled the spread of the bacteria across the globe. This showed that it migrated from Eastern Africa at almost exactly the same time as early humans, approximately 60,000 years ago.

The UK research effort was led by Dr Francois Balloux, a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council-funded scientist at the University of Cambridge. He said: "Humans and this ulcer-causing bacterium have been intimately linked for the last 60,000 years. The research not only shows the likelihood that for tens of thousands of years our ancestors have been suffering the effects of this bacteria but it also opens up new possibilities for understanding early human migration. By showing that Helicobacter pylori emerged from Africa at the same time as early humans it makes it easier to examine some of the controversial questions about human migration. For example we could use our understanding of the bacteria's spread to gauge poorly understood human population shifts in Europe, Africa and Asia."

Notes

The paper, 'An African origin for the intimate association between humans and Helicobacter pylori', is published by Nature Advance Online Publication at 1800 Wednesday 7 February 2007. The digital object identifier for citations is 10.1038/nature05562

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that infects the mucus lining of the stomach and duodenum.

Helicobacter bacteria are the only known microorganisms that can thrive in the highly acidic environment of the stomach. Its helical shape is thought to have evolved to penetrate and colonize the mucus lining.

Most cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis are caused by H. pylori, not spicy food and stress and spicy food as many thought until the 1990s. These conditions are now widely treated with antibiotics effective against the bacteria.

The international research collaboration was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Swedish Research Council and Lund University Hospital.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £350 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Prehistoric Origins Of Stomach Ulcers Uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207171942.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2007, February 8). Prehistoric Origins Of Stomach Ulcers Uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207171942.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Prehistoric Origins Of Stomach Ulcers Uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207171942.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins