Navigation Links
Technology brings new life to the study of diseases in old bones
Date:10/25/2012

A study led by The University of Manchester has demonstrated that new technology that can analyse millions of gene sequences in a matter of seconds is an effective way to quickly and accurately identify diseases in skeletons.

Professor Terry Brown, working in partnership with Professor Charlotte Roberts from Durham University, used a next generation sequencing approach, including hybridization capture technology, to identify tuberculosis genes in a 19th century female skeleton found in a crypt in Leeds.

Their study is part of wider research into the identification of strains of TB in skeletons dating from 100 AD to the late 19th century. It's hoped that understanding how the disease has evolved over time will help improve treatments and vaccines. TB rates have been increasing around the world, and it's estimated that one third of the world's population has latent TB. After HIV it kills more people than any other infectious disease.

Certain strains of TB affect the sufferer's bones, especially in the spine. The marks made by the disease remain evident on the bones long after the person's death. It's this evidence that Professor Roberts used to find suitable skeletons to screen for tuberculosis genes.

She sourced 500 skeletons from across Europe that showed evidence of TB dating from the Roman period to the 19th century. Bone samples from these skeletons were screened for TB DNA, and of those 100 were chosen for this particular study.

Professor Roberts explains: "So many skeletons were needed as it's very hard to tell if any DNA will have survived in the bones. You don't really know if there will be any present until you start screening and in the past that has been a lengthy process."

Professor Terry Brown then took on the search for TB DNA in the skeletons. Each small section of bone was ground up and placed in a solution. That was then put in a special machine which captured every gene sequence in the DNA. Millions of sequences were captured and sent to a computer.

Professor Brown and his team then searched for the gene sequences for tuberculosis. Because it is a bacterial disease the bacteria's DNA can remain in the bones after death.

Talking about the process Professor Brown said: "Previously we could only scan the bone sample for specific genes. We wouldn't see everything that was there which meant we could easily miss other genetic information that could be relevant. Using the hybridization screening meant we could search for different strains of TB, not just one."

About 280 bits of sequence in the DNA were found to match known tuberculosis genes. The data placed the historic strain of TB in a group that is uncommon today, but was known to have been present in North America in the 19th century. In fact it was found to be very similar to a strain recorded in a tuberculosis patient in New York in 1905.

Discussing the results Professor Brown says: "The fact that this particular strain of TB was found in both North America and in the skeleton from 19th century Yorkshire is not necessarily unusual. There were many migrants from Britain to America during the 19th century so it makes sense that TB strains were spread."

One of the downsides of hybridization capture identified by the researchers in this study was that it is possible to mistakenly identify DNA. Because it looks at all the sequences across the sample it may identify DNA that isn't from the bone, but actually from the surrounding soil or environment where the skeleton was buried.

In this study the results were checked using the more traditional method of polymerase chain reactions and were found to be accurate. The researchers concluded that using hybridization capture and next generation gene sequencing is an accurate and effective way to obtain detailed genotypes of ancient varieties of tuberculosis. It could potentially be used to study other diseases. Their findings have been published in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Roberts says: "We're really pleased with the results of this study and that the technology works. It will save a lot of time in the future. We now hope to publish more of the huge amounts of data we have acquired from the sequencing"

The scientists hope to compare their results with similar studies being done in America to assess what tuberculosis strains have been identified there. They're interested in studying which strains were brought to the country by migrants and what impact those had on the native strains of the disease.


'/>"/>
Contact: Morwenna Grills
Morwenna.Grills@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-2111
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. New HIV prevention technology shows promise
2. Tel Aviv University to spearhead groundbreaking nanotechnology consortium
3. Germany Prioritizes Medical Biotechnology with New Initiatives
4. New Report: "Innovations in Drug Delivery - Broad-based Proprietary Technology Platforms to Address Delivery Efficiency and Improve Patient Compliance" Now Available at Twease.org
5. Islet Sciences Announces Exclusive License Agreement with Winthrop University Hospital to Commercialize a Beta Cell Loss Measurement Technology in Diabetes
6. Algae.Tec Biofuels Technology to Feature at 2012 ILA Berlin Airshow
7. Indian Pharma MNC Piramal Investing in German Molecular Imaging Technology
8. Biomass characterization technology research highlighted in Industrial Biotechnology journal
9. Breakthrough in nanotechnology
10. Bolder BioTechnology Announces Publication of Data Demonstrating Utility of the Companys Long-Acting IL-11 Analog to Prevent Renal Ischemia Reperfusion Injury
11. Bode Technology Offers First Rapid DNA Service Delivering a DNA Profile from Evidentiary Samples in Under 90 Minutes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/27/2016)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , April 27, 2016 ... announced today that Martine Rothblatt , Ph.D., Chairman ... an overview and update on the company,s business at ... Conference. The presentation will take place on ... and can be accessed via a live webcast on ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... NDA Partners ... the company as an Expert Consultant. Mr. Clark was formerly a Vice ... the development of small molecule monographs based on analytical methods. NDA Partners ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Winnipeg, Manitoba (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 ... ... commercially released for simultaneous preclinical PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance ... for better understanding disease and testing novel treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... , ... Global Stem Cells Group and the University of Santiago ... and development initiatives for potential stem cell protocol management for 2016 – 2020. ... began meeting to establish a working agenda and foster initiatives to promote stem cell ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/31/2016)...   LegacyXChange, Inc. ... LegacyXChange is excited to release its first ... be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed authentic ... also provide potential shareholders a sense of the value ... industry that is notorious for fraud. The video is ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by ... & Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... is expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... , March 17, 2016 ABI Research, ... forecasts the global biometrics market will reach more ... 118% increase from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, ... fingerprint sensors anticipated to reach two billion shipments ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):