Washington, D.C., Jan. 8 (ANI): A team of researchers have detected the presence of Helicobacter pylori in Ötzi’s stomach contents, a bacterium found in half of all humans today.
The research undertaken by European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (eurac) scientists have found that humans were already infected with this stomach bacterium at the very beginning of their history could well be true.
The scientists succeeded in decoding the complete genome of the bacterium.
Lead researcher and paleopathologist Albert Zink explains that evidence for the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is found in the stomach tissue of patients today.
“So we thought it was extremely unlikely that we would find anything because Ötzi’s stomach mucosa is no longer there,” he said.
The scientists found a potentially virulent strain of bacteria, to which Ötzi’s immune system had already reacted.
Frank Maixner, microbiologist from the European Academy (EURAC), said: “We have showed the presence of marker proteins which we see today in patients infected with Helicobacter.”
Maixner added the recombination of the two types of Helicobacter may have only occurred at some point after Ötzi’s era and this shows that the history of settlements in Europe is much more complex than previously assumed.
Further studies will be needed to show to what extent these bacteria living inside the human body can help us understand how humans developed.
The study is published in the Journal Science. (ANI)