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Med Secoli. 2005;17(1):181-91.

[Molecular paleopathology: a novel perspective for biomedical history].

[Article in Italian]

Author information

  • 1Dipartmento di Medicina Sperimentale e Patologia, Sezione di Storia della Medicina, Universit√† "La Sapienza", Roma.

Abstract

Molecular paleopathology is an emerging field that is devoted to the detection, indentification and characterization of the molecular signatures in past diseases. When studied with modern molecular techniques, ancient human remains may yield direct informations on the diseases of ancient populations as well as the history of human diseases. Data concerning specific diseases of infectious, neoplastic and genetic origin can be obtained by molecular investigations of skeletal and mummified human remains. In particular, ancient DNA extracted from bone tissue, teeth and mummified soft tissue can be deeply analyzed by using PCR-based molecular techniques. Additionally, DNA of ancient pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and parasites, can be isolated from human remains and molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases can be made. Thus, molecular data, complemented by morphological and biochemical analyses, could help to reconstruct the epidemiology of past diseases and epidemics.

PMID:
16285089
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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