The first sample consisted of the bones of 14 individuals who died during the plague epidemic in 1350.
The second (control) sample comprised 20 individuals who were victims of the famine of 1316 in the same town.
The question of dating the time when CCR5-32 started to increase in frequency was addressed by analyzing the bones of 17 individuals who were recovered from the Lichtenstein Cave in the Harz mountains (central Germany), dating back to 900 .
In order to test the hypothesis that plague might have represented a major selective force for the expansion of the CCR5-32 mutant during the Middle Age, two separate mass graves from the town of Lübeck, northern Germany, were investigated.
The STR-based genetic fingerprint of DO 1103 is 6/9.3 for TH01, 14/15 for VWA, 9/11 for TPOX and 11/12 for D5S818; the sex is female, indicated through a single peak at 106 bp, which represents the amelogenine locus on the X-chromosome.
Full figure and legend (52The analysis revealed that seven out of the 19 individuals from the early modern Goslar series, but only one out of 19 individuals from Alia, were heterozygous carriers of the CCR5-32 allele (Table 1).
Product sizes are given on the X-axis in base pairs.
The sample DO 1103 reproducibly showed the CCR5 wild-type (130 bp) as well as the mutant CCR532 allele (98 bp).Ancient DNA studies are prone to a number of artifacts, which, among other factors, may include the contamination of preserved remains with modern human cellular material.We therefore employed a strategy that enables to assign an a priori nonindividual specific sequence, as is given by the CCR5 locus, to a certain individual.The study also included a modern reference group (n=346) consisting of healthy blood donors and staff members from the University of Göttingen.To compare the geographic distribution of CCR5-32 allele frequencies in different parts of Europe in historic times, skeletal material from 19 individuals who were buried during a period dating from 1750 to 1810 in a churchyard cemetery in Goslar (central Germany) was analyzed along with bones from 19 inhabitants of the village of Alia (Sicily) who died during an outbreak of cholera at about the same time (1837).Our findings indicate that this mutation was prevalent already among prehistoric Europeans.