None to carry Iceman's torch

I meant to do more substantial blogging stuff this weekend but life had other plans. This is interesting though, if a little sad:

Gene scientists delving into the 5,300-year-old remains of Oetzi the Iceman, the mysterious mummified man found high in the Alps, say he most likely has no modern-day relatives.

Italian and British experts looked into the mitochondrial DNA — genetic material handed on down the maternal line — teased from Oetzi’s body at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is very stable, changing only gradually as it is handed down the generations, which means it is an excellent yardstick for genealogy.

Oetzi’s mtDNA belonged to a broad genetic category called K1, which is still common in Europe today, the investigators reported on Thursday.

However, modern Europeans today belong to three sub-lineages of K1, whereas Oetzi’s sub-lineage has most probably petered out.

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