Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Infertility link in iceman's DNA
BBC ^ | 2/3/2006 | By Rebecca Morelle BBC News science reporter

Posted on 02/03/2006 12:16:35 PM PST by Red Badger

Oetzi, the prehistoric man frozen in a glacier for 5,300 years, could have been infertile, a new study suggests.

Genetic research, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, also confirms that his roots probably lie in Central Europe.

Oetzi's body was found in the melting ice of the Schnalstal glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991.

Examination of his remains has already revealed the Copper Age man almost certainly died as a result of a fight.

The assessment is based on the presence of an arrowhead that is lodged in his back and extensive cuts to his hands.

The scientists behind the latest genetic research now speculate that Oetzi's possible sterility could have been a factor that led to this violent end.

We cannot say for certain that he was suffering from this [reduced sperm mobility], but there is a chance Dr Franco Rollo, University of Camerino Dr Franco Rollo, from the University of Camerino, and colleagues examined stretches of DNA taken from cells in the iceman's intestines.

In particular, they looked at the genetic material contained in mitochondria, tiny structures that provide power to cells. This type of DNA is passed only down the maternal line.

The team says it found areas that are linked to an increased chance of male infertility.

"We screened sites [of the DNA] which have been described by other scientists as being linked to other pathologies or environmental adaptations," Dr Rollo said.

"A couple of these sites have been described as being linked to reduced sperm mobility and we found both on Oetzi's mitochondrial DNA," he told the BBC New website.

"We cannot say for certain that he was suffering from this [reduced sperm mobility], but there is a chance."

'Lack of family'

Dr Rollo said the idea that Oetzi might have been infertile was intriguing, and while emphasising that this was purely speculation, he noted it would be interesting to pursue the idea further.

"At the moment, purely as a matter of speculation, I am in touch with some cultural anthropologists, medical anthropologists and archaeologists to obtain information on what this [male infertility] could have meant in primitive society," he added.

"One would have to investigate whether there was an awareness of male infertility in this ancient society; and if so, whether the lack of a family or clan could represent a kind of social weakness."

At first it was thought Oetzi had died from exposure to the cold, but the wounds on his hands and the arrowhead would seem to indicate he died as a result of injuries he received in a fight.

Given the suggestion that Oetzi may have been infertile, Dr Rollo wondered whether the social implications of this could have played a role in the chain of events that led to a confrontation.

Maternal line

The team also looked at patterns in Oetzi's DNA to try to establish more information about his roots.

The scientists discovered that he belonged to the K1 subdivision of the haplogroup known as K.

Haplogroups can be described as the branches of the human genealogical tree. Each haplogroup corresponds to early human migrations to the various continents or geographical regions.

ANCIENT HUMAN DNA The DNA within our cells contains the genetic information that spells out the "code of life" It is wound up in bundles known as chromosomes that are found in the cell nucleus (nuclear DNA); DNA also lies within mitochondria outside of the nucleus (mtDNA) mtDNA is inherited only through females via the egg and can be used to trace backwards through evolution; the male sex chromosome (Y) similarly tracks male evolution DNA breaks down over time making recovery difficult from ancient specimens. Fossils are often contaminated with modern human DNA during handling, and it is difficult to tell this apart from ancient DNA K is a comparatively rare haplogroup amongst Europeans, but it has higher frequencies in populations in Ladin in the south of the Alps, and also the Oetzal area to the north.

But Dr Rollo cautioned against the certainty of these results because knowledge of the group's distribution is still poor and there are only small population samples to compare with it.

The researchers also found that Oetzi belonged to a fourth subcategory of the K1 group that had previously not been seen.

"This means that our analysis of the mummy's mitochondrial DNA is more detailed than the average analysis done on modern populations," said Professor Rollo.

Dr Mim Bower, an archaeogeneticist from the McDonald Institute at the University of Cambridge, UK, commented on the research: "This is an interesting paper and shows how valuable mitochondrial DNA can be.

"From the point of view of ancient DNA, it is extremely useful because each cell has lots of mitochondria in it, and therefore lots of copies of mitochondrial DNA, which gives you a much better chance of recovering it after several thousand years of DNA decay."

But Dr Bower pointed out that it can also have limitations.

"What it does not do is give us a complete picture. Because mitochondrial DNA is passed through the maternal line, what we are actually looking at is Oetzi's mother, and grandmother, and so on. We are only seeing the female line," she said.

"With nuclear DNA can we build a more complete picture, but this is very hard to extract from such ancient specimens."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: crevolist; godsgravesglyphs; iceman; thatpoorguy

Maybe he was gay..........

1 posted on 02/03/2006 12:16:37 PM PST by Red Badger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

How embarrasing for him and his family for this to become public


2 posted on 02/03/2006 12:18:00 PM PST by andrew2527
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

So all his kids were the mailman's?


3 posted on 02/03/2006 12:19:48 PM PST by atomicpossum (Replies must follow approved guidelines or you will be kill-filed without appeal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Hmmmm.... He looks familiar. Sort of like Warren Beatty.



I'm betting that this guy was killed in a war.


4 posted on 02/03/2006 12:19:54 PM PST by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

This ice man's gene could be the the cause of Frigidity. I thnk my ex is a carrier.


5 posted on 02/03/2006 12:20:21 PM PST by dblshot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Hey look, he's a newt! Kill him!


6 posted on 02/03/2006 12:20:28 PM PST by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone

You read that book, too?...........


7 posted on 02/03/2006 12:21:18 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
The scientists behind the latest genetic research now
speculate that Oetzi's possible sterility could have
been a factor that led to this violent end.

In other words, his wife killed him.

8 posted on 02/03/2006 12:25:28 PM PST by jigsaw (God Bless Our Troops.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Brilliant

"Hmmmm.... He looks familiar. Sort of like Warren Beatty."


Johnny Damon.


9 posted on 02/03/2006 12:27:42 PM PST by Airborne1986 (Well, you can do what you want to us. But we're not going to sit here while you badmouth the U.S.A.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

This poor chap was only tending sheep on the snow covered BareBack Mountin', when some houligans in 4wheel SUV's attacked him!


10 posted on 02/03/2006 12:28:00 PM PST by aShepard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

More proof the Springsteen gene hasn't evolved much in the last 5000 plus years.
11 posted on 02/03/2006 12:28:11 PM PST by TheForceOfOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheForceOfOne

Looks more like Clint Howard (Ron's brother) to me........

12 posted on 02/03/2006 12:32:38 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
LOL!

That's the first person I thought of but I couldn't remember his name so I settled for Springstink.
13 posted on 02/03/2006 12:33:51 PM PST by TheForceOfOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

He looks middle eastern. An early version of an islamic fanatic, perchance. An islamic shooting blanks! Bet the cartoonists good have a field day with that idea.


14 posted on 02/03/2006 12:37:26 PM PST by lilylangtree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Infertility link in iceman's DNA

Although the iceman cometh, methinks he shooteth blanks.

15 posted on 02/03/2006 12:40:38 PM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree (Abortion is to family planning what bankruptcy is to financial planning.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TruthShallSetYouFree

LOL!!!! Good one!.........


16 posted on 02/03/2006 12:42:08 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Airborne1986

See #12.......


17 posted on 02/03/2006 12:43:02 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: andrew2527

So much for medical privacy!


18 posted on 02/03/2006 12:44:32 PM PST by mlc9852
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

GGG ping


19 posted on 02/03/2006 12:44:46 PM PST by Fractal Trader
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Looks like Nosferatu.


20 posted on 02/03/2006 12:46:30 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (The Internet is the samizdat of liberty..".Liberty is the right and hope of all humanity"GW Bush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
"At first it was thought Oetzi had died from exposure to the cold, but the wounds on his hands and the arrowhead would seem to indicate he died as a result of injuries he received in a fight."

Ya think?

Dern Apaches!
21 posted on 02/03/2006 12:50:00 PM PST by ryan71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

"Her" father and/or brothers probably offed him and then found "her" another people maker.

(I'm rather uneducated on this: how the heck can they tell if a dude was infertile by his DNA? No one else on the planet has it, or what?)


22 posted on 02/03/2006 12:50:54 PM PST by madison10
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

The reporter has left out the little fact that he had copper poisoning from smelting ore in an enclosed space (during the winter, probably).

These reporters are pathetic.


23 posted on 02/03/2006 12:53:19 PM PST by Wiseghy ("You want to break this army? Then break your word to it.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: madison10

Well, I distinctly remember that when he was found, his dingus was missing.......


24 posted on 02/03/2006 12:56:15 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Perhaps his lack of a penis contributed to his infertility.
25 posted on 02/03/2006 12:56:35 PM PST by Physicist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Physicist

....or maybe it was broke back mountin'..........


26 posted on 02/03/2006 12:57:43 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

"Whaddya mean infertile? Next time do some research"

27 posted on 02/03/2006 12:58:00 PM PST by SGCOS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
D'oh, the thread's up for 10 minutes, and you scoop me by 20 seconds! Can't wait on that low-hanging fruit.
28 posted on 02/03/2006 12:58:07 PM PST by Physicist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Brilliant

No. He was killed for showing everyone else a new dance step he discovered.

He called it the Macarena.


29 posted on 02/03/2006 12:59:11 PM PST by kinghorse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Well, I distinctly remember that when he was found, his dingus was missing.......

How do researchers know WHEN said dingus went a-missing?

Probably a eunuch made such to protect some ancient princess-type or the enemy stole the *ahem* dingus as some sort of war prize.

30 posted on 02/03/2006 1:01:44 PM PST by madison10
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Haven't any of you people ever been married??? It's crystal clear his wife killed him. She wanted kids, he didn't give her any. Case closed. Cherchez la femme!


31 posted on 02/03/2006 1:18:21 PM PST by Jack Hammer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jack Hammer

So she absconded with the family jewels?............


32 posted on 02/03/2006 1:22:15 PM PST by Red Badger (...I will bless them that bless thee and those who curse thee I will turn into Liberals..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
"Shriek! Early European White Male Hate Crime!"
33 posted on 02/03/2006 1:52:39 PM PST by pabianice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I understand that a certain vital part of his anatomy chipped off in the process of excavating him, so this article is true even without the DNA tomfoolery (hmmm, sterile, shot with an arrow, and then froze to death -- this guy did not have a good day).


34 posted on 02/03/2006 2:16:16 PM PST by MajorityOfOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I was fairly common back then to remove the proof of a kill. (male parts) instead of dragging the whole body back, but he had a lot of valuable gear when they found him so I doubt if they would have just taken his privates and not his bow and axe.


35 posted on 02/03/2006 2:58:00 PM PST by bdfromlv (Leavenworth hard time)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I was fairly common back then to remove the proof of a kill. (male parts) instead of dragging the whole body back, but he had a lot of valuable gear when they found him so I doubt if they would have just taken his privates and not his bow and axe.


36 posted on 02/03/2006 2:58:18 PM PST by bdfromlv (Leavenworth hard time)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: andrew2527
Perhaps he was missing something from his diet...


37 posted on 02/03/2006 3:02:12 PM PST by Redcloak ("Shiny... Let's be bad guys.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: atomicpossum

"So all his kids were the mailman's?"

Nah, probably a Neanderthal in the woodpile.


38 posted on 02/03/2006 3:10:28 PM PST by wildbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: bdfromlv

Thank God the evolution of culture led to scalping instead.


39 posted on 02/03/2006 3:13:00 PM PST by wildbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
This article says he's related to these mummies found over in China:

The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy

40 posted on 02/03/2006 3:18:15 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Probably not even the first time it's happened; certainly won't be the last.


41 posted on 02/03/2006 4:42:54 PM PST by Jack Hammer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

This poor bastard might have gotten a big laugh over all the speculation the SBs have to say about him


42 posted on 02/03/2006 4:45:44 PM PST by Modok
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fractal Trader; blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Thanks Fractal Trader. I would ping it, but I'm going to do the digest pretty soon. Actually, it's already nearly 2:30 AM, so I'm going to ping this, and do the digest when I get up in the morning. :')

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

43 posted on 02/03/2006 11:26:33 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

So, he died during the last global warming period?


44 posted on 02/03/2006 11:35:07 PM PST by Dustbunny (May God be gracious to us and Bless us and make his face shine upon us Ps67:1 Selah)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
The reporter has left out the little fact that he had copper poisoning from smelting ore in an enclosed space (during the winter, probably).

Well, I distinctly remember that when he was found, his dingus was missing.......

The Copper Clapper Caper?

45 posted on 02/03/2006 11:40:53 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Mad-Mo! Allah bin Satan commands ye: Bow to him 5 times/day: Head down, @ss-up, and fart at Heaven!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Wiseghy

Sorry; #45 was supposed to be for both of you.


46 posted on 02/03/2006 11:43:31 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Mad-Mo! Allah bin Satan commands ye: Bow to him 5 times/day: Head down, @ss-up, and fart at Heaven!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Dustbunny

If not for global warming he would never have been found.
In addition to more canadian and siberian wheat, yet another benefit of global warming.


47 posted on 02/04/2006 12:36:33 AM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Give Them Liberty Or Give Them Death! - IT'S ISLAM, STUPID! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro

In case you were not on any ping list...


48 posted on 02/04/2006 4:41:29 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Isn't a hereditary gene for infertility, an oxymoron?


49 posted on 02/04/2006 4:42:47 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-ice04.html

Italy's iceman a sterile outcast?

February 4, 2006

ROME -- New DNA analysis shows that a 5,000-year-old mummy found frozen in the Italian Alps may have been sterile -- a hypothesis that would support the theory that he may have been a social outcast, officials said Friday.

Franco Rollo, an anthropologist and ancient DNA specialist, also determined that the man's genetic makeup belonged to one of the eight basic groups of DNA occurring in Europe, although his particular DNA belonged to a subgroup that has been identified for the first time, officials said.

The South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Italy's northern Alto Adige region, where the remains are housed, announced the findings of Rollo's research Friday.

Rollo's findings also appear in the February issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the statement said.

''The possibility that he was unable to father offspring cannot be eliminated,'' Rollo reported. ''This not improbable hypothesis raises new questions concerning his social rank within his society.''

A group of hikers discovered the well-preserved body in 1991.

AP


50 posted on 02/04/2006 1:16:02 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson