Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ötzi’s secrets about to be revealed

Date:
July 27, 2010
Source:
European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano
Summary:
Using the latest technologies, scientists in Europe have reached a new milestone in their study of the iceman known as Ötzi. For the first time since his discovery almost 20 years ago, scientists now have access to the complete genetic profile of this world-famous mummy.

Mummified remains of Ötzi the iceman.
Credit: Copyright South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

Using the latest technologies, scientists in Europe have reached a new milestone in their study of the iceman known as Ötzi. For the first time since his discovery almost 20 years ago, scientists now have access to the complete genetic profile of this world-famous mummy.

Experts from three institutions have pooled their skills in order to map Ötzi's entire genetic make-up: Albert Zink, Head of the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the iceman, together with Carsten Pusch, from the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Tübingen and Andreas Keller from the bio-technological firm "febit" in Heidelberg. Together they have reached a historic moment in the study of the 5,000-year-old mummy. The two scientists, Zink and Pusch, have been working together for some time and recently published, in collaboration with the Egyptian team led by Zahi Hawass, the latest findings on the life and the medical condition of Tutankhamen and his family.

Running a joint project with bioinformatics expert Andreas Keller turned out to be an ingenious stroke of luck for the two human biologists. Andreas Keller was able to make available the most up-to date sequencing technology, which the scientists then used to decode the millions of building blocks which make up Ötzi's genome, and this in turn enabled them to achieve results which, using previous procedures, would have taken several decades to complete. They extracted a bone sample from the pelvis of the ice mummy, and with the aid of the revolutionary SOLiD sequencing technology from the "Life Technologies" company created a DNA library which contains by far the largest DNA data set ever recovered from the iceman.

This work on the iceman turned out to be a ground-breaking activity for the research team, as this was the first time that this newly developed technology was used on Ötzi. "We are dealing here with old DNA which in addition is heavily fragmented," explains Albert Zink, who is entrusted with the care of Ötzi. "It was only by using the very latest technology with its low failure rate that we scientists were able to decode Ötzi's DNA in its entirety within this short space of time."

The most exciting part of their work is yet to come. The scientists are about to process the enormous quantity of bio-data now available to them which should contain the answers to a great many questions. Are any of Ötzi's descendants still around today and if so, where might they be found? Can any genetic mutations be observed between earlier and present day populations? What conclusions about today's genetic diseases and other prevalent illnesses such as diabetes or cancer can be drawn from the examination of Ötzi's genetic make-up, and his predisposition to various types of ailments? What benefits can be derived from these findings for our own study of genetic medicine?

Next year is the 20th anniversary of Ötzi's discovery. The scientists will mark this occasion by presenting their data analysis as well as the resulting conclusions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano. "Ötzi’s secrets about to be revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727065647.htm>.
European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano. (2010, July 27). Ötzi’s secrets about to be revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727065647.htm
European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano. "Ötzi’s secrets about to be revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727065647.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A mammoth skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit on Wayne McEwen's Texas farm back in May. It's now being donated to a museum. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) — The signature is one of a couple Lincoln autographs that have popped up recently. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — A new study is packed with interesting Neanderthal-related findings, including a "definitive answer" to when they went extinct. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 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:
from the past week

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