'Iceman' genome yields much information

Feb. 28, 2012 at 5:48 PM
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ROME, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Oetzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old body discovered frozen in the Italian Alps, had brown eyes, blood type "O" and incipient heart disease, scientists say.

Oetzi's full DNA genome also shows he was lactose intolerant and more closely related to modern inhabitants of Corsica and Sardinia than to populations in the Alps where he was unearthed in 1991.

The study also shows him to be the first documented case of human infection by a Lyme disease bacterium, researchers said.

The nuclear DNA study revealed a wealth of information on of the most widely studied specimens in science, they said.

"We've been studying the Iceman for 20 years. We know so many things about him -- where he lived, how he died -- but very little was known about his genetics, the genetic information he was carrying around," Albert Zink of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy told BBC News.

"This was really exciting and I think it's just the start for a longer study on this level. We still would like to learn more from this data -- we've only just started to analyze it."

The full genome of Oetzi, who scientists believe died from an arrow wound, has been reported in the journal Nature Communications.

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