Molecular Paleopathology: A Novel Perspective For Biomedical History

Laura Ottini, Ramona Lupi, Mario Falchetti, Gino Fornaciari, Renato Mariani-Costantini, Luciana Rita Angeletti

Abstract


Molecular Paleopathology is an emerging field that is devoted to the detection,identification and characterization of the molecular signatures in the past diseases. When studied with modern molecular techniques,ancient human remains may yield direct informations on the diseases of ancient pulation as well as on the history of human diseases.áData 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 tissues can be deeply analyzed by using PCR-based molecular tecniques. 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.

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Key words: Paleopathology - Ancient DNA - Infectious diseases - Neoplastic diseasesá


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