Saturday, February 04, 2006

Was Oetzi the iceman infertile?

The BBC is saying that initial DNA analysis of Oetzi, the Copper Age man found frozen in 1991 in the Italian Alps, has been completed. DNA samples were retrieved from inside his intestines and stretches of mitochondrial DNA were sequenced. They were able to get more sequence than a 1994 DNA analysis.

The main result is that his DNA falls into a known haplotype cluster called K1, which is still found in that region of the Alps, but his exact variant is difficult to place within subclusters of K1.

The Beeb also says that Oetzi had more than one mtDNA stretch associated with male infertility. The medical side of this is that the sperm rely on mitochondrial output to do their swimming, so faulty mitochondria can affect sperm motility . I can't find out just yet what mutations Oetzi might have had. Of course, he may not have been interested in having kids anyway.

Dienekes had this story about a week ago.

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