A view of Naples with the snow-capped Mount Vesuvius in the background. Scientists have successfully sequenced the genome of a man killed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius atop the ancient city of Pompeii for the first time. File photo by Ciro Fusco/EPA-EFE
26 May (UPI) — Scientists were able to sequence the genome from the victim of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which flattened the ancient city of Pompeii, according to a study released Thursday.
According to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, a team led by Gabriele Scorrano, an assistant professor of geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen, extracted DNA from a male and a female as part of the first search for the “Pompeian human genome”. ,
Scientists were only able to sequence the entire genome from the male because of gaps in the genome from the female, resulting in a nearly complete set of “genetic instructions” encoded in the DNA extracted from their bodies.
“Many more genomes from Pompeii could be studied in the future,” Serena Viva, an archaeologist at the University of Salento and a member of the study team, told The Guardian. “The victims of Pompeii experienced a natural disaster, a thermal shock, and it was not known whether you could preserve their genetic material. This study provides this confirmation, and new techniques on genetic analysis give us a look at the damaged material. allowing the genome to be sequenced.”
The bodies were first recovered in 1933 in what Pompeii archaeologists have called Casa del Fabro, or The Craftsman’s House.
On August 24, 79 AD, when the volcano erupted, they were found sloping in the corner of the dining room as if they were having lunch.
“from positions” [of their bodies] It looks like they weren’t running,” Viva told the BBC. “The answer to why they weren’t running may lie in their health conditions.”
The analysis found that the men were between 35 and 40 years old and about 5 feet and 3 inches tall while the women were 50 years old and about 5 feet tall.
Genetic studies found that the man’s skeleton contained DNA sequences that suggested he may have had tuberculosis before his death, while the woman is believed to have been affected by osteoarthritis.
“This may be the reason why he waited for everything to be finished in the safety of his home, compared to other victims who were on the run and whose remains were found in open spaces,” said Viva.