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      Tuberculosis origin: The Neolithic scenario.

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          Abstract

          This paper follows the dramatic changes in scientific research during the last 20 years regarding the relationship between the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and its hosts - bovids and/or humans. Once the M. tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis genomes were sequenced, it became obvious that the old story of M. bovis evolving into the human pathogen should be reversed, as M. tuberculosis is more ancestral than M. bovis. Nevertheless, the timescale and geographical origin remained an enigma. In the current study human and cattle bone samples were examined for evidence of tuberculosis from the site of Atlit-Yam in the Eastern Mediterranean, dating from 9250 to 8160 (calibrated) years ago. Strict precautions were used to prevent contamination in the DNA analysis, and independent centers used to confirm authenticity of findings. DNA from five M. tuberculosis genetic loci was detected and had characteristics consistent with extant genetic lineages. High performance liquid chromatography was used as an independent method of verification and it directly detected mycolic acid lipid biomarkers, specific for the M. tuberculosis complex. These, together with pathological changes detected in some of the bones, confirm the presence of the disease in the Levantine populations during the Pre-pottery Neolithic C period, more than 8000 years ago.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Tuberculosis (Edinb)
          Tuberculosis (Edinburgh, Scotland)
          Elsevier BV
          1873-281X
          1472-9792
          Jun 2015
          : 95 Suppl 1
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Electronic address: anatom2@post.tau.ac.il.
          [2 ] Centres for Clinical Microbiology and the History of Medicine, University College London, London, UK. Electronic address: h.donoghue@ucl.ac.uk.
          [3 ] Institute of Microbiology and Infection, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK. Electronic address: d.e.minnikin@bham.ac.uk.
          [4 ] Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Electronic address: hilamay@gmail.com.
          [5 ] Institute of Microbiology and Infection, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK. Electronic address: leeoy@bham.ac.uk.
          [6 ] Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Electronic address: michalfe@gmail.com.
          [7 ] Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem, Israel; Zinman Institute of Archaeology, Haifa University, Israel. Electronic address: udi@israntique.org.il.
          [8 ] Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel; Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. Electronic address: spigelman@btinternet.com.
          [9 ] Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA 15702, USA; Biodiversity Institute and Department of Geology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA. Electronic address: bmr@ku.edu.
          [10 ] The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel. Electronic address: gila.kahila@mail.huji.ac.il.
          Article
          S1472-9792(15)00022-0
          10.1016/j.tube.2015.02.021
          25726364

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