quarta-feira, setembro 30, 2009

DNA tests on Granville's mummy show TB killed ancient Egyptian

The first mummy to be scientifically analized was again tested for its real cause of death.

Augustus Granville first described his Egyptian mummy to London's Royal Society in 1825. The remains are of a woman, Irtyersenu, who died in Thebes around 600 BC, aged about 50. It was the first mummy to be subjected to a scientific autopsy, and Granville concluded that she died of ovarian cancer.

But around 20 years ago, the remains of the mummy were rediscovered and subjected to new tests. These suggested that the ovarian tumour was benign, and that the mummy also had malaria and signs of inflammation in the lungs, which could have been caused by pneumonia or tuberculosis.

But when Donoghue http://www.ucl.ac.uk/slms/people/show.php?personid=11405

and colleagues from the University of Birmingham, UK, combined DNA amplification with a recently developed technique to search for a short repetitive section of DNA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they identified the organism in tissue from the lungs, bone and gall bladder.They also found biomarkers specific to the cell wall of the bacterium in the lungs and bones.
Journal reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1484
Other references:
What killed Dr Granville's mummy
Dr. Aufderheide's Scinetific Study of Mummies (first 29 pages)
pages 7, 10, 11 with picture of the 'ovarian cyst'
Ancient Egyptian Medicine, John Francis Nunn - 2002 page 65

The Granville mummy (Itry-senu) was re- examined in 1994 (Harer and Taylor, in preparation) ...

An essay on Egyptian mummies: with observations on the art of embalming ... By Augustus Bozzi Granville
Who was Granville?
The experience of ancient Egypt By Ann Rosalie David
Augustus Bozzi Granville (1783—1872) was of Italian origin and spent part of ... An interest in Egyptology led him to investigate an Egyptian mummy...

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