Recognising the broad array of approaches available for the diagnosis of ancient tuberculosis: comment on ‘Infectious diseases and Neolithic transformations’ (Fuchs et al. 2019 The Holocene 29: 1545–1557)

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


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  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


The characterisation of ancient tuberculosis is not totally dependent on the recovery of intact genomes. Judicious combinations of ancient DNA fragments and specific lipid biomarkers provide unambiguous diagnosis and these protocols are capable of refinement and extension. Currently, there is no direct evidence for exclusive co-evolution of humans and tuberculosis. A developing body of data suggests that the initial evolution of tuberculosis may readily have taken place in a range of Pleistocene megafauna.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-783
Number of pages3
JournalThe Holocene
Issue number5
Early online date5 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • ancient tuberculosis, DNA fragment amplification, genomes, lipid biomarkers, paleopathology, Pleistocene megafauna, tuberculosis evolution

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