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Monday, 12 December 2016

2000 year old Roman remains proved Malaria was a historical parasite

Scientists examined DNA from tooth pulp from skeletal remains found in three Italian cemeteries, including this skull from Velia, considered an important port city and trading center. Credit: Luca Bandioli, Pigorini Museum (Image Courtesy: Live Science)
Malaria has seemed to be almost 2000years old based on the latest analysis of human teeth collected from cemeteries at Italy.

Previously, malaria was the major disease during the Roman reign at Italy. The incidence was supported in many major writings of ancient authors, although it was unknown that which probable parasite would have caused the disease.

Currently, Plasmodium falciparum is the major contender of the disease with deaths of malaria known to spread globally. The question that hits is there are several species of Plasmodium, and knowing the earlier species would help to interpret the diversity of the disease and how the parasite has evolved over time.

Stephanie Marciniak, a biological anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University who is the lead author of the study and along with her colleagues examined 58 adults and 10 children teeth from the corpse which dated back first to third centuries A.D. They undertook study from three different places at Italy as to provide the depth of understanding the overall malaria prevalence and how it technically flourished in that country.

Researchers analyzed DNA fragments from dental pulp. Isolating Malaria parasite was much challenging as microbes dwell in bloodstream and organs like liver and spleen but they decompose over time; but fortunately researchers able to find the presence of Plasmodium falciparum from two adults.

This research infers that Malaria is a historical pathogen that had caused much widespread death in Rome. In future, researchers want to look further for ancient Malarial DNA to understand how the disease evolved over time.


Study source: Live Science
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