Stomachs Out of Africa

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Science  07 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5612, pp. 1528-1529
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082950

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Could a bacterial pathogen that inhabits the human stomach reveal the paths trodden by our ancestors as they migrated out of Africa? In his Perspective, Spratt discusses an analysis of isolates of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori from 27 human populations of different ethnicities and from different geographical locations ( Falush et al.). DNA sequence differences among the bacterial isolates revealed traces of ancient human migrations and of the intermixing that occurred as migrating populations colonized new areas.