Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex DNA from an extinct bison dated 17,000 years before the present

Bruce M. Rothschild, Larry D. Martin, Galit Lev, Helen Bercovier, Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Charles Greenblatt, Helen Donoghue, Mark Spigelman, David Brittain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


In order to assess the presence of tuberculosis in Pleistocene bison and the origin of tuberculosis in North America, 2 separate DNA extractions were performed by 2 separate laboratories on samples from the metacarpal of an extinct long-horned bison that was radiocarbon dated at 17,870 ± 230 years before present and that had pathological changes suggestive of tuberculosis. Polymerase chain reaction amplification isolated fragments of tuberculosis DNA, which were sequenced, and on which spoligotyping was also performed to help determine its relationship to the various members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Extensive precautions against contamination with modern M. tuberculosis complex DNA were employed, including analysis of paleontologic and modern specimens in 2 geographically separate laboratories.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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