It was the year 79 from the birth of Christ, when inhabitants of Pompeii they watched as hell approached them, engulfing them in a wave of poisonous gases and lava. The eruption of Vesuvius left thousands of victims, whose rapid death gave rise to a curious phenomenon. The petrified lava around their bodies left holes that, filled with gypsum, allowed casts of exact poses in which were volcano victims. But this is not the only thing that has survived. It appears that the pyroclastic materials released by Vesuvius allowed the preservation of DNA some of these people are safe from environmental factors that can worsen it. And so it came to the point that a group of scientists from University of Copenhagen and University of Salento Received sequence the genome one of the victims.

human genome were pre-sequenced. In fact, some gaps that were not available for sequencing methods have recently been discovered. However, accessing the DNA of a living or recently deceased person is not the same as accessing the DNA of a person who died in a volcanic eruption nearly 2,000 years ago.

Until now, it has been possible to arrange some very short fragments of mitochondrial DNA people and animals that died in Pompeii. This is achieved for the first time sequence the entire genome one of these persons. And this is great news for two reasons. On the one hand, because this is a clear example of how sequencing techniques have advanced in recent years. On the other hand, because it contains many interesting facts about how inhabitants of this city in Italy. It is true that this is only an individuality, but it is still a window into the past, which is worth using.

A nightmare frozen in time

Like any volcano, writings from that time indicate that Vesuvius began to show signs of activity. a few days before the eruption. Seeing him, many inhabitants of Pompeii fled across the sea. However, there were those who stayed, either because they were sure that it would not matter much, or because they did not have the financial resources to do so.

In fact, it is believed that many of those who remained were slaves that they must take care of their masters’ things in their absence. The remains of those who wore rings tied to their ankles were even discovered.

Many of the inhabitants who remained in Pompeii were slaves.

The eruption caught some sleeping while others took to the streets trying to flee. Everything was very fast and sudden, because they may have died immediately due to high temperatures, poisonous gases and, of course, lava.

It is curious that this volcanic magma at a very high temperature and the released pyroclastic materials made it possible to preserve Pompeii x-ray frozen in time. The holes left under the petrified lava made it possible to make casts of many of the victims, as well as their furniture or animals. We can get an idea of ​​what this Italian city was like. But now, thanks to genome sequencing, we can learn much more deeply about what its inhabitants were like.

Brano (Unsplash)

Pompeii genome sequencing

The sequenced genome belongs to one of two people found in the so-called House of Fabbro or, in Spanish, craftsman’s houseor. There were two people in room 9. The first was a man between 35 and 40 years old and about 164 centimeters tall. As for the second, this is a woman over 50 years old, about 153 centimeters tall.

The authors of the study, currently published in Nature they were able to extract and sequence the DNA of both. However, they only managed to complete the human genome.

Although there were two people in the room and DNA could be extracted from both, only one complete genome was sequenced.

Once the sequence was obtained, they proceeded to compare it with another 1030 ancient and 471 modern people from the same area of ​​Europe. Thus, they saw that their DNA was most similar to modern Central Italians and other people who lived in Italy during the era of the Roman Empire. However, the analysis mitochondrial DNAinherited through the maternal line and from Y chromosome, descended from the father, also showed the presence of gene clusters, usually found in people from the island of Sardinia, but not in other people who lived in Italy during the Roman Empire. Therefore, there may be great genetic diversity.

Finally, the presence of bacterial DNA is striking. In particular, genetic material from Mycobacteria. This is the genus to which the bacterium that causes the disease belongs. tuberculosis, so this person may have been ill before the eruption. Maybe that’s why he didn’t run away? Or is it better to stay and work in the craftsman’s house? We will never know; but at least DNA provides new clues to one of the most interesting mysteries in history.

Source: Hiper Textual

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