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dc.contributor.authorPfrengle, Saskia
dc.contributor.authorNeukamm, Judith
dc.contributor.authorGuellil, Meriam
dc.contributor.authorKeller, Marcel
dc.contributor.authorMolak, Martyna
dc.contributor.authorAvanzi, Charlotte
dc.contributor.authorKushniarevich, Alena
dc.contributor.authorMontes, Núria
dc.contributor.authorNeumann, Gunnar U
dc.contributor.authorReiter, Ella
dc.contributor.authorTukhbatova, Rezeda I
dc.contributor.authorBerezina, Nataliya Y
dc.contributor.authorBuzhilova, Alexandra P
dc.contributor.authorKorobov, Dmitry S
dc.contributor.authorSuppersberger Hamre, Stian
dc.contributor.authorMatos, Vitor MJ
dc.contributor.authorFerreira, Maria T
dc.contributor.authorGonzález-Garrido, Laura
dc.contributor.authorWasterlain, Sofia N
dc.contributor.authorLopes, Célia
dc.contributor.authorSantos, Ana Luisa
dc.contributor.authorAntunes-Ferreira, Nathalie
dc.contributor.authorDuarte, Vitória
dc.contributor.authorSilva, Ana Maria
dc.contributor.authorMelo, Linda
dc.contributor.authorSarkic, Natasa
dc.contributor.authorSaag, Lehti
dc.contributor.authorTambets, Kristiina
dc.contributor.authorBusso, Philippe
dc.contributor.authorCole, Stewart T
dc.contributor.authorAvlasovich, Alexei
dc.contributor.authorRoberts, Charlotte A
dc.contributor.authorSheridan, Alison
dc.contributor.authorCessford, Craig
dc.contributor.authorRobb, John
dc.contributor.authorKrause, Johannes
dc.contributor.authorScheib, Christiana L
dc.contributor.authorInskip, Sarah A
dc.contributor.authorSchuenemann, Verena J
dc.description.abstractBACKGROUND: Hansen's disease (leprosy), widespread in medieval Europe, is today mainly prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions with around 200,000 new cases reported annually. Despite its long history and appearance in historical records, its origins and past dissemination patterns are still widely unknown. Applying ancient DNA approaches to its major causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, can significantly improve our understanding of the disease's complex history. Previous studies have identified a high genetic continuity of the pathogen over the last 1500 years and the existence of at least four M. leprae lineages in some parts of Europe since the Early Medieval period. RESULTS: Here, we reconstructed 19 ancient M. leprae genomes to further investigate M. leprae's genetic variation in Europe, with a dedicated focus on bacterial genomes from previously unstudied regions (Belarus, Iberia, Russia, Scotland), from multiple sites in a single region (Cambridgeshire, England), and from two Iberian leprosaria. Overall, our data confirm the existence of similar phylogeographic patterns across Europe, including high diversity in leprosaria. Further, we identified a new genotype in Belarus. By doubling the number of complete ancient M. leprae genomes, our results improve our knowledge of the past phylogeography of M. leprae and reveal a particularly high M. leprae diversity in European medieval leprosaria. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings allow us to detect similar patterns of strain diversity across Europe with branch 3 as the most common branch and the leprosaria as centers for high diversity. The higher resolution of our phylogeny tree also refined our understanding of the interspecies transfer between red squirrels and humans pointing to a late antique/early medieval transmission. Furthermore, with our new estimates on the past population diversity of M. leprae, we gained first insights into the disease's global history in relation to major historic events such as the Roman expansion or the beginning of the regular transatlantic long distance trade. In summary, our findings highlight how studying ancient M. leprae genomes worldwide improves our understanding of leprosy's global history and can contribute to current models of M. leprae's worldwide dissemination, including interspecies transmissions.
dc.publisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
dc.rightsAttribution 4.0 International
dc.subjectAncient DNA
dc.subjectAncient pathogen genomics
dc.subjectMycobacterium leprae
dc.subjectPathogen diversity
dc.subjectPathogen population dynamics
dc.subjectGenome, Bacterial
dc.subjectMycobacterium leprae
dc.subjectPopulation Dynamics
dc.titleMycobacterium leprae diversity and population dynamics in medieval Europe from novel ancient genomes.
prism.publicationNameBMC Biol
dc.contributor.orcidSchuenemann, Verena J [0000-0002-8593-3672]
rioxxterms.typeJournal Article/Review
pubs.funder-project-idWellcome Trust (200368/Z/15/Z)

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Attribution 4.0 International
Except where otherwise noted, this item's licence is described as Attribution 4.0 International