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FEBS Lett. 2002 Apr 24;517(1-3):180-4.

Helicobacter pylori in North and South America before Columbus.

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Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


We present a molecular epidemiologic study, based on an analysis of vacA, cagA and cag right end junction genotypes from 1042 Helicobacter pylori isolates, suggesting that H. pylori was present in the New World before Columbus. Eight Native Colombian and Alaskan strains possessed novel vacA and/or cagA gene structures and were more closely related to East Asian than to non-Asian H. pylori. Some Native Alaskan strains appear to have originated in Central Asia and to have arrived after strains found in South America suggesting that H. pylori crossed the Bering Strait from Asia to the New World at different times.

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