Otzi the Iceman Has Genome Mapped!

Otzi the Iceman has had his entire genome mapped! The 5,300-year-old man–allegedly dead when they found him—was discovered frozen solid in the Alps back in 1991. Back then we didn’t even know his name and now, so many years later, we know things about him we’d have never thought possible. By painstakingly mapping his genome scientists have discovered that he had brown eyes, he suffered from Lyme disease, he was lactose-intolerant, that he that he had type O blood, and that he had a predisposition to heart disease. “We (now) know he was a very active person,” said Angela Graefen, a human genetics researcher at the Eurac Institute in Bolzano, Italy. “He was not the type of person who would sit around in a sedentary fashion.”

How accurate is all this? How can we possibly learn so much from a man that has been dead for so very long? “It’s science,” said researcher Benjamin Chadfink. “But yes, it’s a very delicate process. Otzi’s DNA was, of course, not 100% complete, and so we had to fill in some holes with the DNA of a frog, just like what you want to do when you clone dinosaurs. It makes perfect sense in both cases. Really.”

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