Abstract

An approximately 5000-year-old mummified human body was recently found in the Tyrolean Alps. The DNA from tissue samples of this Late Neolithic individual, the so-called "Ice Man," has been extracted and analyzed. The number of DNA molecules surviving in the tissue was on the order of 10 genome equivalents per gram of tissue, which meant the only multi-copy sequences could be analyzed. The degradation of the DNA made the enzymatic amplification of mitochondrial DNA fragments of more than 100 to 200 base pairs difficult. One DNA sequence of a hypervariable segment of the mitochondrial control region was determined independently in two different laboratories from internal samples of the body. This sequence showed that the mitochondrial type of the Ice Man fits into the genetic variation of contemporary Europeans and that it was most closely related to mitochondrial types determined from central and northern European populations.