Genes associated with antibiotic resistance have been found in an 11th-century mummy’s colon and feces, long before antibiotics were introduced. The find suggests that gene mutations responsible for antibiotic resistance occurred naturally in 1,000-year-old bacteria and are not necessarily linked to the overuse of antibiotics. The research, published in the online issue of PlosOne, began as an international team of scientists analyzed the microbiome of the remains that were mummified naturally in the cold climate of the Andes Mountains. Found in Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, the mummy was brought to Italy in the second half of the 19th century by professor Ernesto Mazzei. It was then donated to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of the University of Florence, Italy, where it is currently stored with 11 other mummies. “The mummy lay in a basket made of fibers which contained two drapes covering the body entirely. Only the skeletonized head and part of the hands were visible,” Gino Fornaciari, professor of history of medicine and paleopathology at the University of Pisa, told Discovery News. Fornaciari explained that the mummy was prepared according to funerary customs which required that the bodies, sometime treated with smoking, be arranged in a fetal position and wrapped in baskets. Such baskets had opening so that faces of the dead could be seen. The baskets had also handles for hanging in family tombs. “The cold and dry climate of the Andes produced a natural mummification,” he added. Fornaciari and colleagues unwrapped the mummy from her basket and carried out an autopsy.

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He certainly looks like he could do with a mutation or two Steph.

I remember an article about this to the effect that antibiotic resistant bacteria exist in natives of remote areas of South America even today.




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