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Lessons From Ötzi, The Tyrolean H2o Ice Man. Business Office Iii

There are ii reasons why I chose this fourth dimension to write almost Otzi.  The showtime is that I've been looking for a expert excuse to revisit human evolutionary history, especially that of Europeans, together with what it does together with doesn't enjoin us almost the "optimal" human diet.  The minute is that Otzi's total genome was sequenced together with described inward a recent final result of Nature Communications (1).  H5N1 "genome" is the total complement of genes an organism carries.  So what that agency is that researchers convey sequenced almost all of his genes. 


I convey a background inward genetics, but genetic anthropology is complicated together with it isn't my field.  Some of what I'll acquaint inward coming posts is nonetheless vigorously debated inward anthropology circles, together with I don't know the details of all the arguments.  I'll practice my best to acquaint the scientific discipline every bit I empathize it, together with if y'all come about to hold upward a genetic anthropologist together with y'all convey a dissimilar perspective, delight portion it inward the comments.

Otzi's Mitochondrial Genome

The showtime genetic data nosotros convey almost Otzi predates the recent newspaper past times eighteen years.  Mitochondria are the cell's tiny ability plants, together with they convey their ain tiny genome that's passed downward through the maternal lineage.  In 1994, a High German grouping published the showtime analysis of his mitochondrial genome, indicating that Otzi is genetically related to present-day Europeans (2).  Later papers described his total mitochondrial genome (3, 4). 

Modern-day people are divided into mitochondrial "haplogroups", which only indicates relatedness through the maternal lineage.  What these papers flora is that Otzi belongs to haplogroup K, a haplotype that's acquaint inward almost vi per centum of people inward Europe together with the Near East today.  Haplogroup K originated almost 16,000 years agone nigh the cradle of agriculture inward the Middle East, together with spread outward from there.  It has been flora inward the remains of early on agricultural populations inward the Middle East together with Europe (5, 6, 7, 8).

These mitochondrial studies dot that Otzi was, at to the lowest degree inward part, a genetic migrant descended from early on agriculturalists inward the Middle East, rather than a total descendant of local hunter-gatherer populations inward Europe that adopted agriculture over time. 

Otzi's Nuclear Genome

The "nuclear genome" is the complement of genes that's contained inward the nucleus, together with it represents past times far the lion's portion of a person's genetic material.  This is what the recent newspaper reported sequencing (9).  It contains a issue of insights:
  • Otzi is most closely related to modern-day Sardinians.
  • Otzi had several genetic cardiovascular illness opportunity factors that collectively would convey set him at a substantially elevated opportunity of having a midpoint assail or stroke.  This may explicate his vascular disease, at to the lowest degree inward part.
  • Otzi in all probability had Lyme disease, a chronic together with serious bacterial infection transmitted past times ticks.
  • Otzi in all probability had chocolate-brown eyes.
  • Otzi was lactose intolerant.
  • "...Otzi carried a large genomic part known every bit the ‘Y chromosome’, which significantly increases the opportunity of traipsing almost inward the a*se-end of nowhere amongst real trivial protective clothing, together with getting shot past times arrows" (12)?  These findings, amid many others, propose that agricultural populations from the Middle East non exclusively brought their subsistence strategy to Europe, they every bit good brought their genes. 

    Researchers convey flora that Paleolithic humans together with neanderthals inward Europe had a diet that was heavily focused on meat (13, 14), together with this has been used to propose that modern-day people of European descent should consume a meat-heavy, depression saccharide diet to mimic their ain ancestral dietary pattern.  But this makes a large assumption: that those Paleolithic meat eaters were the ancestors of modern-day Europeans. If instead, modern Europeans descend from Middle Eastern agriculturalists who originally came from Africa, that agency they were never hunter-gatherers inward Europe together with thus never ate a diet focused on meat together with fat-rich large temperate game.  If they descended from Middle Eastern agriculturalists who ate a high-carbohydrate grain-based diet for around 10,000 years, this may Pb to dissimilar conclusions almost the ancestral European diet.

    In futurity posts, I'll explore what inquiry has uncovered almost European ancestry, human evolution since the evolution of agriculture, together with what that agency for the human dietary niche. 


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