About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Earliest Evidence of Malaria Found in Ancient DNA of Egyptian Mummies

by Rajashri on October 25, 2008 at 3:09 PM
Font : A-A+

 Earliest Evidence of Malaria Found in Ancient DNA of Egyptian Mummies

The ancient DNA of two Egyptian mummies who died more than 3,500 years ago has provided clear evidence for the earliest known cases of malaria.

According to a report in Discovery News, Pathologist Andreas Nerlich and colleagues at the Academic Teaching Hospital Munchen-Bogenhausen in Munich, Germany, studied 91 bone tissue samples from ancient Egyptian mummies and skeletons dating from 3500 to 500 B.C.

Advertisement

Using special techniques from molecular biology, such as DNA amplification and gene sequencing, the researchers identified ancient DNA for the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in tissues from two mummies.

"We now know for sure that malaria was endemic in ancient Egypt. This was only been speculated on the basis reports by (the 5th century B.C. Greek historian) Herodotus and some very faint evidence from ancient Egyptian papyri," Nerlich told Discovery News.
Advertisement

The capital of Egypt around 1500 B.C., Thebes hosts a huge necropolis, which mostly contains the remains of upper class ancient Egyptians.

"Both infected mummies were adults and had some mild signs of chronic anemia. Unfortunately, no further information is available since they came from 'no name burials'," said Nerlich.

However, the location of their tombs in the necropolis strongly suggests that they were of high class local descent," he added.

The wealth of these people did not provide them with protection against diseases.

In a previous study, Nerlich and colleagues discovered that most people buried at the site died between the ages of 20 and 30.

Caused by four different kinds of parasites belonging to the Plasmodium family - falciparum, malariae, ovale and vivax - malaria is transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito.

The ancient scourge, which has shaped history by decimating invading armies and making villages in the grip of the fever hard to colonize, still plagues humanity.

Nerlich and colleagues believe that their work in identifying one of the earliest forms of the disease may help develop new treatments.

"We are now hopeful we can identify the 'precursor' of malaria pathogens," he said.

According to anatomist and paleopathologist Frank Ruhli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project at the University of Zurich, the discovery is important because it is "based on reliable molecular detection of pathogen ancient DNA."

"This study adds new insights into the evolutionary prevalence of a disease which still kills millions of people worldwide. It also highlights again the enormous importance of ancient mummy research for modern clinical medicine," Ruhli told Discovery News.

Source: ANI
RAS/S
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
DNA Finger Printing Malaria-water Malaria Mosquito Diseases Genetic Testing of Diseases Epigenetics Fever Malaria - Protection Strategies Oxidative Stress / Free Radicals Cell Injury 

Recommended Reading
Malaria
Malaria is caused by a parasite that enters blood through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is .....
Mosquito Diseases
Mosquito-borne diseases, like malaria, filaria, dengue, etc are common in places conducive of ......
Waterborne Disease - Animation
Interactive section of Medindia gives details regarding waterborne disease...
400 People Estimated to Have Died of Malaria in Nigerian State in Last Month
An outbreak of malaria in northern Nigeria's Katsina state has killed 401 people in the last four .....
DNA Finger Printing
DNA fingerprinting is a technique which helps forensic scientists and legal experts solve crimes, id...
Epigenetics
In the recent years ‘epigenetics’ represents inheritable changes in gene expression that do not incl...
Fever
Fever or Pyrexia is an elevation in normal body temperature. Causes of fever include infections, inj...
Genetic Testing of Diseases
Genetic testing helps to confirm a genetic condition in an individual and involves q complex laborat...
Malaria - Protection Strategies
Malaria is a dangerous disease with lethal consequences that requires protective measures for preven...
Oxidative Stress / Free Radicals Cell Injury
Oxidative stress is a form of injury to body tissues due to increase in free radicals. If the injur...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use