HL-A Antigens in Mummified Pre-Columbian Tissues

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Science  01 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4127, pp. 864-866
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4127.864


Tissue extracts of pre-Columbian mummies, from 500 to 2000 years old, were found to inhibit specific antibodies to HL-A. Two-thirds of the specimens tested gave positive results. Patterns of reactions obtained with different antiserums detecting the same antigen were concordant and consistent with known relations between HL-A antigens. The distribution of antigens found was similar to that observed in present-day descendants of the ancient populations studied. Although artifacts due to contaminating substances could have occurred, the reactions resembled in many respects those of HL-A antigens rather than those of nonspecific cross-reacting inhibitors. Development of a technique for HL-A typing of mummified remains may open new possibilities for anthropologic studies.