Science

Scientists Have Sequenced the DNA of a 2000-Year-Old Human From Pompeii

Pompeii Body

The discoveries show that ancient DNA can be recovered from Pompeiian human bones, providing new insight into this historic community’s genetic history and lifestyles.

The first Pompeiian human genome has been sequenced.

Research that was recently published in Scientific Reports presents the first human genome that has been successfully sequenced from a person who passed away in Pompeii, Italy, after Mount Vesuvius’ explosion in the year 79 CE. Only little segments of mitochondrial DNA from Pompeiian human and animal remains have been sequenced up to this point.

The DNA of two people’s bones that were discovered in Pompeii’s House of the Craftsman was studied and extracted by Gabriele Scorrano and colleagues. The bones’ length, form, and structure revealed that one pair belonged to a male who was between 35 and 40 years old when he passed away, while the other set belonged to a female who was over 50. The authors were able to extract and sequence ancient DNA from both people, but since the sequences from the female’s bones had gaps in them, they could only sequence the entire genome from the male’s remains.

The male subject’s DNA was compared to 1,030 ancient and 471 current western Eurasian subjects, and it was found that the male subject’s DNA was most comparable to that of modern central Italians and other people who resided in Italy during the Roman Imperial era. However, studies of the male’s Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA revealed sets of genes that are often prevalent in Sardinian people but not in other people who resided in Italy during the Roman Imperial era. This shows that the Italian Peninsula may have seen high levels of genetic diversity at the time.

Additional analyses of the male individual’s skeleton and DNA identified lesions in one of the vertebrae and DNA sequences that are commonly found in Mycobacterium, the group of bacteria that the tuberculosis-causing bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis belongs to. This suggests that the individual may have been affected by tuberculosis prior to his death.

The authors speculate that it may have been possible to successfully recover ancient DNA from the male individual’s remains as pyroclastic materials released during the eruption could have provided protection from DNA-degrading environmental factors, such as atmospheric oxygen. The findings demonstrate the possibility to retrieve ancient DNA from Pompeiian human remains and provide further insight into the genetic history and lives of this population, they add.

Reference: “Bioarchaeological and palaeogenomic portrait of two Pompeians that died during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD” by Gabriele Scorrano, Serena Viva, Thomaz Pinotti, Pier Francesco Fabbri, Olga Rickards, and Fabio Macciardi, 26 May 2022, Scientific Reports.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-10899-1

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  • Who wrote this?.. "and DNA sequences that are commonly found in Mycobacterium, the group of bacteria that the tuberculosis-causing bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis belongs to."

  • Well if you read the top right before the article started it says "SPRINGER NATURE." Wrote it. At the end it gives citations.

  • How dare you misgender this creature. I believe it's actually non-binary upside-down backwards inside-out genderless asexual morph bondage furry. Wow so unprogressive.

    • You have one joke and it’s not funny.

      They use the correct term to refer to genitalia and chromosomes. Try learning the difference between sex and gender.

      • It would not be difficult to do this if it wasn't for the fact that people who share you ideologies have decided to hijack the English language and change definitions to words and phrases that for decades if not centuries have meant something else
        So excuse us if we can't keep up with the ever changing venacular you choose to engage in. The unwoke choose to engage in the English language that Webster touted 5 years ago before Webster got "Woke". You shouldn't discriminate against the unwoke. Don't be an "unwokeaphobic"

        • Well sex and gender started being differentiated in 1955, although “gender” wasn’t officially adopted as a term until the 80s. It was created because a word for how a person lived needed to be made since it is not always the same as someone’s sex. They’re similar enough that non-scientists often use them as synonyms, but they were different from the beginning.

      • Assuming by the "Frank",you would be of the y chromosome, you know, sex=male,gender=masculine, aka he,him,sir,swinging john...could be mistaken on the sir,what gender,sex is the stinkhole, don't say all of them. Let's invent a new one shall we

  • Thanks for the article. This sentence needs to be re-written. “The authors speculate that it may have been possible to successfully recover ancient DNA from the male individual’s remains as pyroclastic materials released during the eruption may have provided protection from DNA-degrading environmental factors, such as atmospheric oxygen.”

  • Pompeii officials knew their people were in danger and did nothing.

    Are you a direct decendant of a Pompeii victim? If so, you may be entitled to a structured settlement.

  • DG you cracked me up! I believe you are being facetious but in today's society yours could be a sincere comment from a endoctrinated individual. But fascinating article regardless of the gender. Maybe scientists can settle on the 2 gender theory someday. Maybe they already have. Lol!

  • I am just relieved that the DNA was not from some black African, if it had been we would never hear the end of it. How Pompeii was build by Africans and Italy was African ancestral land.

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Springer Nature

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