Otzi, the 5,300-year-old iceman, who was discovered in 1991 in the Italian Alps, had Lyme disease and was genetically predisposed to heart disease, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
Scientists have sequenced the full genome of Ötzi, and found that he had brown eyes, O blood type and was intolerant to lactose, which meant he couldn't take milk products.
"The evidence that such a genetic predisposition already existed in Ötzi's lifetime is of huge interest to us. It indicates that cardiovascular disease is by no means an illness chiefly associated with modern lifestyles," ScienceDaily quoted anthropologist Albert Zink and bioinformatics expert Andreas Keller as saying.
"We are now eager to use these data to help us explore further how these diseases developed," the scientists added.
The researchers revealed that Ötzi was affected by Lyme disease, after they found traces of bacteria from the genus Borrelia that is responsible in causing infections. The iceman appears to be the earliest case to be affected by Lyme disease.
"This is the oldest evidence for borreliosis (Lyme disease) and proof that this infection was already present 5,000 years ago," Carsten Pusch, who led the genetic investigations in Tübingen, Germany told ScienceDaily.
Moreover, the scientists have also found clues about Ötzi's ancestors. Their findings showed that Ötzi's ancestors had migrated from the Middle East and their genetic heritage is most common in geographically isolated areas and islands such as on Sardinia and Corsica, according to the ScienceDaily report.
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