Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code

Date:
May 29, 2012
Source:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Summary:
The discovery of a mummified Korean child with relatively preserved organs enabled an Israeli-South Korean scientific team to conduct a genetic analysis on a liver biopsy which revealed a unique hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype C2 sequence common in Southeast Asia.

The ancient Korean mummy of a child provides clues to the hepatitis B virus genome.
Credit: Seoul National Univesity

The discovery of a mummified Korean child with relatively preserved organs enabled an Israeli-South Korean scientific team to conduct a genetic analysis on a liver biopsy which revealed a unique hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype C2 sequence common in Southeast Asia.

Additional analysis of the ancient HBV genomes may be used as a model to study the evolution of chronic hepatitis B and help understand the spread of the virus, possibly from Africa to East-Asia. It also may shed further light on the migratory pathway of hepatitis B in the Far East from China and Japan to Korea as well as to other regions in Asia and Australia where it is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The reconstruction of the ancient hepatitis B virus genetic code is the oldest full viral genome described in the scientific literature to date. It was reported in the May 21 edition of the scientific journal Hepathology by a research team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment; the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine, the Hadassah Medical Center's Liver Unit; Dankook University and Seoul National University in South Korea.

Carbon 14 tests of the clothing of the mummy suggests that the boy lived around the 16th century during the Korean Joseon Dynasty. The viral DNA sequences recovered from the liver biopsy enabled the scientists to map the entire ancient hepatitis B viral genome.

Using modern-day molecular genetic techniques, the researchers compared the ancient DNA sequences with contemporary viral genomes disclosing distinct differences. The changes in the genetic code are believed to result from spontaneous mutations and possibly environmental pressures during the virus evolutionary process. Based on the observed mutations rates over time, the analysis suggests that the reconstructed mummy's hepatitis B virus DNA had its origin between 3,000 to 100,000 years ago.

The hepatitis B virus is transmitted through the contact with infected body fluids , i.e. from carrier mothers to their babies, through sexual contact and intravenous drug abuse. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 400 million carriers of the virus worldwide, predominantly in Africa, China and South Korea, where up to 15 percent of the population are cariers of the virus. In recent years, universal immunization of newborns against hepatitis B in Israel and in South Korea has lead to a massive decline in the incidence of infection.

The findings are the result of a collaborative effort between Dr. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Koret School of Veterinary Medicine; Prof. Daniel Shouval of the Hadassah Medical Center's Liver Unit and Hebrew University; Dr. Myeung Ju Kim of Dankook University, Seok Ju Seon Memorial Museum; Dr. Dong Hoon Shin of Seoul National University, College of Medicine ; Prof Mark Spigelman of the Hebrew University's Dept. of Parasitology and Dr. Paul R. Grant of University College of London,Dept. of Virology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Myeung Ju Kim, Athalia Klein, Dong Hoon Shin, Chang Seok Oh, Jong Wan Kim, Tae-Hyun Kim, Seok Bae Kim, Paul Robert Grant, Orit Pappo, Mark Spigelman, Daniel Shouval. Tracing hepatitis B virus to the 16th century in a Korean mummy. Hepatology, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/hep.25852

Cite This Page:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529102256.htm>.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2012, May 29). 16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529102256.htm
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529102256.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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