Monday, March 30, 2009

NAU researchers trace Ice Age anthrax path to North America

The first traces of anthrax in what is now the U.S. appear to have spread south from Ice Age mammals as the continental ice sheets melted and allowed animals such as bison [right, Ice Age bison. Credit, Ill. State Geological Survey] to migrate from Beringia (Siberia-Alaska) starting as long as 14,000 years ago.

NAU Regent’s professor Paul Keim and NAU professor emeritus Jim Mead, now professor and chair of geosciences at East Tennessee State, used high resolution genomic analysis coupled with extensive strain collections to make their conclusions.

They note that while the introduction of many diseases are associated with the European colonization of North America, "few diseases have been associated with early human migrations into North America.”

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