Living relatives of 5300-year-old Iceman mummy found

Living relatives of 5300-year-old Iceman mummy found

Living relatives of 5300-year-old Iceman mummy found


 Scientists have found at least 19 living male relatives of Otzi the Iceman in Austria's Tyrol region.

Otzi the Iceman is a 5,300-year-old natural mummy of a man found in 1991 in the Schnalstal glacier in the Otztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy.

Scientists from the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University analysed DNA samples taken from 3,700 blood donors in the Tyrol region of Austria.
They found that 19 individuals share a particular genetic mutation with the 5,300-year-old mummy, whose full genome was published last year, 'Discovery News' reported.

"These men and the Iceman had the same ancestors," Walther Parson, the forensic scientist who carried out the study, told the Austrian Press Agency.
The study focused on parts of the human DNA which are generally inherited unchanged.

"In men it is the Y chromosomes and in females the mitochondria. Eventual changes arise due to mutations, which are then inherited further," Parson explained.

People with the same mutations are categorised in haplogroups and Otzi's haplogroup is very rare in Europe.

"The Iceman had the haplogroup G, sub category G-L91. In our research we found another 19 people with this genetic group and subgroup," Parson said.

Since the study analysed Y chromosome haplogroup, Parson was able to trace only the male descendants of the Neolithic man.

The descendants have not been told of their connection to the Iceman.

The research team is now collaborating with Swiss and Italian partners to see if the genetic mutation might also be found in the nearby Swiss region of Engadine and in Italy's South Tyrol region.

The Iceman mummy is one of the most heavily investigated human corpses of all time. Studies have found that the man was brown-eyed, lactose intolerant, probably had Lyme disease and a predisposition to heart disease.

At the time of his death Otzi was approximately 5 ft 5 in tall, weighed about 50 kilogrammes and was about 45 years of age.

Otzi died a violent death. In 2007, CT scans showed that an arrowhead had lacerated his left subclavian artery, leading to fast bleeding. Recent studies have pointed to a cerebral trauma - a violent blow to the head - as the cause of death.

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