Tuesday, December 6 | 4:00 PM
McMillan Hall, G052
McMillan Hall, 1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130
Anne C. Stone, Regents’ Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University
Abstract: Tuberculosis (TB) has affected humans, as well as other animals, for millennia. Here, I will discuss how ancient DNA allows us to examine the history of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and related strains in the M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) which cause the disease. In particular, I will focus on patterns of pathogen exchange before and after the “Age of Exploration/Colonization” and discuss ways that TB may have adapted to humans and other animals. We initially analyzed MTBC genomes from three 1000-year old skeletal TB cases from coastal Peru and found that they are closely related to strains in sea mammals (specifically Southern Hemisphere pinnipeds). Our subsequent research shows that these pinniped-derived MTBC strains spread to inland parts of South America as well as North America likely by human-to-human transmission and suggests multiple jumps from pinnipeds. After contact, colonists introduced European TB strains, replacing pre-contact strains but the timing and extent of this is poorly known. Our data suggest that these post-contact strain distributions reflect the introduction of strains commonly circulating in the source areas of colonists.
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