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Journal Article

Ancient genomes reveal a high diversity of Mycobacterium leprae in medieval Europe

MPS-Authors
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Krause-Kyora,  Ben
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Herbig,  Alexander
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Krause,  Johannes
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;
MHAAM, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schuenemann, V. J., Avanzi, C., Krause-Kyora, B., Seitz, A., Herbig, A., Inskip, S., et al. (2018). Ancient genomes reveal a high diversity of Mycobacterium leprae in medieval Europe. PLoS Pathogens, 14(5): e1006997. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1006997.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-6329-F
Abstract
Author summary Many controversies surround leprosy, which is one of the oldest recorded diseases of humankind. The origin and past spread of its main causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, remain unknown although many attempts have been made to reconstruct its past from historical and archeological sources. Analysis of ancient M. leprae genomes reconstructed from archaeological remains can contribute greatly to reconstructing the origin and evolution of this pathogen. With a new set of ancient M. leprae genomes from Europe, we traced back a so far unrecognized past diversity, which places Europe as a key region for the early spread and worldwide dissemination of leprosy. Our results hint to the potential dynamic changes in the prevalence of different M. leprae strains in Europe during Antiquity, and highlight the need to study ancient pathogen genomes in order to better understand our past.