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Nature. 2014 Oct 23;514(7523):494-7. doi: 10.1038/nature13591. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

Pre-Columbian mycobacterial genomes reveal seals as a source of New World human tuberculosis.

Author information

1
1] Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Ruemelinstraße 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany [2].
2
1] School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, PO Box 872402, Tempe, Arizona 85287-2402, USA [2].
3
1] Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Ruemelinstraße 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany [2] Center for Bioinformatics, University of Tübingen, Sand 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany [3].
4
1] Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Socinstrasse 57, 4002 Basel, Switzerland [2] University of Basel, Petersplatz 1, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland [3].
5
Center for Bioinformatics, University of Tübingen, Sand 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
6
1] Genomics and Health Unit, FISABIO-Public Health, Avenida Cataluña 21, 46020 Valencia, Spain [2] CIBER (Centros de Investigación Biomédica en Red) in Epidemiology and Public Health, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, C/ Monforte de Lemos 3-5, Pabellón 11, Planta 0, 28029 Madrid, Spain.
7
Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Ruemelinstraße 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
8
Pathogen Genomics, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
9
Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X1, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa.
10
School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, PO Box 872402, Tempe, Arizona 85287-2402, USA.
11
CONICET, Laboratorio de Ecología Evolutiva Humana (FACSO, UNCPBA), Departamento de Biología (FCEyN, UNMDP), Calle 508 No. 881 (7631), Quequen, Argentina.
12
Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, 250 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA.
13
Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, 701 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7100, USA.
14
1] Molecular Mycobacteriology, Forschungszentrum Borstel, Parkallee 1, 23845 Borstel, Germany [2] German Center for Infection Research, Forschungszentrum Borstel, Parkallee 1, 23845 Borstel, Germany.
15
McGill International TB Centre, McGill University, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal H3G 1A4, Canada.
16
Biotechnology Institute, CICVyA-INTA Castelar, Dr. Nicolás Repetto y De Los Reseros S/N, (B1686IGC) Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
17
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (CONICET-UNMdP), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, San Luis 1722, Mar del Plata 7600, Argentina.
18
1] Department of Medicine, Imperial College, London W2 1PG, UK [2] Division of Mycobacterial Research, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.
19
1] Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Socinstrasse 57, 4002 Basel, Switzerland [2] University of Basel, Petersplatz 1, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland.
20
1] Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Ruemelinstraße 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany [2] Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, Tübingen 72070, Germany [3] Max Planck Institute for Science and History, Khalaische Straße 10, 07745 Jena, Germany.

Abstract

Modern strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the Americas are closely related to those from Europe, supporting the assumption that human tuberculosis was introduced post-contact. This notion, however, is incompatible with archaeological evidence of pre-contact tuberculosis in the New World. Comparative genomics of modern isolates suggests that M. tuberculosis attained its worldwide distribution following human dispersals out of Africa during the Pleistocene epoch, although this has yet to be confirmed with ancient calibration points. Here we present three 1,000-year-old mycobacterial genomes from Peruvian human skeletons, revealing that a member of the M. tuberculosis complex caused human disease before contact. The ancient strains are distinct from known human-adapted forms and are most closely related to those adapted to seals and sea lions. Two independent dating approaches suggest a most recent common ancestor for the M. tuberculosis complex less than 6,000 years ago, which supports a Holocene dispersal of the disease. Our results implicate sea mammals as having played a role in transmitting the disease to humans across the ocean.

PMID:
25141181
PMCID:
PMC4550673
DOI:
10.1038/nature13591
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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