facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Mummy reveals hepatitis origins

May 29, 2012 at 5:40 PM   |   Comments

SEOUL, May 29 (UPI) -- Researchers say an ancient mummified Korean child with relatively preserved organs enabled them to identify a unique hepatitis virus common in Southeast Asia.

An Israeli-South Korean scientific team said a genetic analysis on a liver biopsy from the 16th century mummified boy revealed a unique hepatitis B virus genotype C2 sequence common in the region.

The findings may yield clues to the evolution of the chronic virus and its possible spread from Africa to East-Asia and into Korea and other regions in Asia and Australia where it is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer, a release from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported Tuesday.

Researchers said the viral DNA sequences recovered from the liver biopsy allowed them to map the entire ancient hepatitis B viral genome.

Observed mutation rates over time suggest that the reconstructed mummy's hepatitis B virus DNA had its origin between 3,000 to 100,000 years ago, they said.

There are over 400 million carriers of the virus worldwide, predominantly in Africa, China and South Korea, the World Health Organization said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk
2
Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open
3
Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data
4
Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves
5
Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback