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Molecular identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the Milwaukee county institution grounds cemetery

Author(s): Helen Werner

Year: 2015

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Whether or not the identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in skeletal remains is possible has been a debated topic for many years. In order to shed more light on the issue, a study has been carried out on the remains from the 1991 and 1992 excavations of the Milwaukee County Institution Grounds Cemetery, a collection of skeletons ranging from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, of various ages and sexes. To show the utility of the previously discussed methods of osteological identification of tuberculosis, the collection has been analyzed for the IS6110 repetitive element marker using molecular biological techniques, including Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Eighty-six skeletons from the collection were selected for analysis based on completeness of remains and identification of age and sex. Out of the analyzed remains, nine skeletons showed skeletal signs of tuberculosis infection. PCR was also carried out with the oxyR marker to rule out Mycobacterium bovis contamination. The goal of the study is to show whether or not osteological identification of M. tuberculosis is possible and whether it can be confirmed using molecular biological techniques.

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Molecular identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the Milwaukee county institution grounds cemetery. Helen Werner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396088)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America