Ötzi, the Iceman, was found back in 1991, buried in the snow under the Alps and frozen there for a very long time. Scientists have estimated that he lived nearly 5300 years ago and suffered from a very unique genetic mutation. Now, 19 living persons carrying the very same mutation have been identified by the scientists.
Ötzi has been critically significant in our understanding of the prehistoric humans. Scientists have conducted extensive research on the body of this Iceman, trying to gauge everything from his staple diet to the diseases he suffered from and the circumstances he lived in.
During the course of this research, it transpired that Ötzi suffered from Lyme disease, being the first ever known patient of this condition. Scientists were also able to identify unique genetic mutations in the body.
Based on these findings, scientists in Europe decided to see if there are any living relatives or descendants of Ötzi, carrying the very same genetic mutation. As part of this phase of research, DNA samples from 3700 blood donors were acquired and tested.
Once the DNA were cross-matched, scientists were able to identify 19 such persons who were carrying the exact same mutation, making them distant relatives of Ötzi. This fresh finding has sparked a new interest in the Iceman and scientists are hopeful that they may be able to find the same genetic mutation in other parts of Europe.
This breakthrough research took place in the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University. Walther Parson, one of the members of the research team, cited that the university is now planning to reach out to Swiss and Italian partners and carry similar DNA cross-match sampling in other parts of the world.
Courtesy: Daily Mail