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Reading: Genomic Correlates of Atherosclerosis in Ancient Humans

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Genomic Correlates of Atherosclerosis in Ancient Humans

Authors:

Albert Zink ,

Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen (EURAC), Bolzano/Bozen, IT
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L. Samuel Wann,

Cardiovascular Physicians, Columbia St. Mary's Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI, US
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Randall C. Thompson,

Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, US
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Andreas Keller,

Department of Clinical Bioinformatics, Saarland University, University Hospital, Saarbrücken, DE
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Frank Maixner,

Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen (EURAC), Bolzano/Bozen, IT
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Adel H. Allam,

Al-Azhar University, Cairo, EG
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Caleb E. Finch,

Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, US
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Bruno Frohlich,

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, US
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Hillard Kaplan,

Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, US
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Guido P. Lombardi,

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, PE
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M. Linda Sutherland,

Newport Diagnostic Center, Newport Beach, CA, US
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James D. Sutherland,

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills, CA, US
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Lucia Watson,

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, MX
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Samantha L. Cox,

Department of Archeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GB
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Michael I. Miyamoto,

Mission Heritage Medical Group, St. Joseph Heritage Health, Mission Viejo, CA, US
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Jagat Narula,

Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, US
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Alexandre F.R. Stewart,

John and Jennifer Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, CA
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Gregory S. Thomas,

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, CA; University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, US
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Johannes Krause

Institute of Archaeological Sciences, University of Tubingen, Tubingen, DE
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Abstract

Paleogenetics offers a unique opportunity to study human evolution, population dynamics, and disease evolution in situ. Although histologic and computed x-ray tomographic investigations of ancient mummies have clearly shown that atherosclerosis has been present in humans for more than 5,000 years, limited data are available on the presence of genetic predisposition for cardiovascular disease in ancient human populations. In a previous whole-genome study of the Tyrolean Iceman, a 5,300-year-old glacier mummy from the Alps, an increased risk for coronary heart disease was detected. The Iceman's genome revealed several single nucleotide polymorphisms that are linked with cardiovascular disease in genome-wide association studies. Future genetic studies of ancient humans from various geographic origins and time periods have the potential to provide more insights into the presence and possible changes of genetic risk factors in our ancestors. The study of ancient humans and a better understanding of the interaction between environmental and genetic influences on the development of heart diseases may lead to a more effective prevention and treatment of the most common cause of death in the modern world.

Highlights

  • Oldest evidence on the presence of genetic predisposition for cardiovascular disease in the 5,300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman.
  • Future genetic studies of ancient humans have the potential to provide more insights into the presence and possible changes of genetic risk factors in our ancestors.
  • The study of ancient humans and a better understanding of the interaction between environmental and genetic influences on the development of heart diseases may lead to more effective prevention and treatment.
How to Cite: Zink A, Wann LS, Thompson RC, Keller A, Maixner F, Allam AH, et al.. Genomic Correlates of Atherosclerosis in Ancient Humans. Global Heart. 2014;9(2):203–9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gheart.2014.03.2453
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Published on 01 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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