Genomic blueprint of a relapsing fever pathogen in 15th century Scandinavia.

Authors:
Meriam Guellil
Meriam Guellil
University of Oslo
Oliver Kersten
Oliver Kersten
University of Oslo
Amine Namouchi
Amine Namouchi
Unit of Typing and Genetics of Mycobacteria
Egil L Bauer
Egil L Bauer
Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research
Michael Derrick
Michael Derrick
Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research
Nils C Stenseth
Nils C Stenseth
University of Oslo
Norway
Barbara Bramanti
Barbara Bramanti
University of Oslo

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 10 24;115(41):10422-10427. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, N-0316 Oslo, Norway;

Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF) is known to have killed millions of people over the course of European history and remains a major cause of mortality in parts of the world. Its pathogen, , shares a common vector with global killers such as typhus and plague and is known for its involvement in devastating historical epidemics such as the Irish potato famine. Here, we describe a European and historical genome of , recovered from a 15th century skeleton from Oslo. Our distinct European lineage has a discrete genomic makeup, displaying an ancestral gene and gene loss in antigenic variation sites. Our results illustrate the potential of ancient DNA research to elucidate dynamics of reductive evolution in a specialized human pathogen and to uncover aspects of human health usually invisible to the archaeological record.

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Source
http://www.pnas.org/lookup/doi/10.1073/pnas.1807266115
Publisher Site
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807266115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187149PMC
October 2018
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