Scientific research at the molecular level on a collection of medieval skeletons from Norton Priory in Cheshire could help rewrite history after revealingthey were affected by an unusual ancient form of the bone disorder, Paget’s disease.
The study, coordinated by researchers at the University of Nottingham, involved analysing proteins and genetic material preserved in the bones and teeth that are more than 800 years old.
The work suggests that ancient remains can hold a chemical memory of disease and that similar molecular analysis could be used to explore the evolution of other human disorders.
The study, published in PNAS, is significant because it indicates that ancient Paget’s disease may have been far more common than the modern disease and developed much earlier in life.
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