Home USA NEWS Medieval Pilgrim Excavated in UK Carried Leprosy Strain That Still Circulates

Medieval Pilgrim Excavated in UK Carried Leprosy Strain That Still Circulates


NEW YORK GenomeWeb Genetic analysis of a pilgrim who died in the late 11th or early 12th Century That showed he was infected with Mycobacterium leprae 2F Belonging to the lineage.

The University of Surrey, Michael Taylor and his colleagues excavated the pilgrim and two other INDIVIDUALI for Biomolecular, radiocarbon, and isotopic analysis. As they Reported today in PLoS neglected Tropical Diseases, they found That the pilgrim, a Man Between the ages of 18 and 25 years When he died, was likely not local to the area in Britain WHERE HE was buried and was infected with a leprosy strain Now passing with south-western and central Asia.

hese results add to our understanding of isolated behind the European Widespread Nature of leprosy in the High Middle Ages and in Particular of a rare lineage Which is less common amongst extant Strain, “The Researchers wrote in on their paper.

Taylor and his colleagues three skeletons excavated from burial grounds at St. Mary Magdalen in southern England, a Known Leprosarium. The skeleton is Focused in this study was buried with a scallop shell Indicating That he’d made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James in Spain.

That radiocarbon datingindicated The Pilgrim’s skeleton was from the late 11th or early 12th centuries, while the control skeletons dated to the 17th and 18th centuries. Only the pilgrim’s bones – and not from the Those controls – exhibited Evidence of leprosy, as he had lesions in his feet. The restriction of the lesions to his feet to the Researchers Suggested That he likely had a Greater soft tissue manifestations of the disease.

Isotope Analysis Suggested That the pilgrim ate a diet Consisting of more animal protein than others buried in the cemetery, and it indicated That he was not a native to the Winchester, UK, area WHERE HE was buried, but That he could be from another British locale . Analysis of his skull shape also Suggested That he might not be of British origin.

Despite the Pilgrim’s low bone signs of leprosy, the Researchers were Able to Isolate M. leprae DNA from him for analysis. They first screened by three skeletons for signs of M. leprae Using the multi-copy element RLEP, Which they then Confirmed by real-time PCR analysis of the multi-copy element IS1081. Only the pilgrim came back positive for M. leprae. The samples were also screened to DETERMINE Whether they were infected with Brucella, Treponema pallidum, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Leishmania, Plasmodium, or hepatitis B virus, but none were.

Through a combination of SNP and VNTR typing, the Researchers found That the pilgrim harbored leprosy 2F Belonging to the strain, but one genetically distinct from others That is found at that site.

Most of the leprosy strain found at the cemetery belong to genotype 3i Which has homology with Existing strain of this lineage, they noted. These are thought to be to strain Ancestral now found in the southern US. The genotype 2F is also found at this site today and is found in Central Asia and the Middle East. This suggests Settlers That might’ve brought` this strain to the region OR that the pilgrim picked it up in his travels.

The Researchers further noted That the M. leprae genome has not changed much since the disease peaked in Medieval Europe, Which might account for the Decrease in disease transmission.

“Further Ancient Genome Analysis Linked to Population Genetics Can Potentially Provide important additional information on the genetic origin, but overall These Findings Confirm the Benefits of a Multidisciplinary approach Which Allows Investigation of the wider Relationship Between leprosy, a Medieval pilgrimage, and M. leprae transmission, “the authors wrote.