Metagenomic analysis of Mesolithic chewed pitch reveals poor oral health among stone age individuals.

Kırdök E, Kashuba N, Damlien H, Manninen MA, Nordqvist B, Kjellström A, Jakobsson M, Lindberg AM, Storå J, Persson P, Andersson B, Aravena A, Götherström A

Sci Rep 13 (1) 22125 [2024-01-18; online 2024-01-18]

Prehistoric chewed pitch has proven to be a useful source of ancient DNA, both from humans and their microbiomes. Here we present the metagenomic analysis of three pieces of chewed pitch from Huseby Klev, Sweden, that were dated to 9,890-9,540 before present. The metagenomic profile exposes a Mesolithic oral microbiome that includes opportunistic oral pathogens. We compared the data with healthy and dysbiotic microbiome datasets and we identified increased abundance of periodontitis-associated microbes. In addition, trained machine learning models predicted dysbiosis with 70-80% probability. Moreover, we identified DNA sequences from eukaryotic species such as red fox, hazelnut, red deer and apple. Our results indicate a case of poor oral health during the Scandinavian Mesolithic, and show that pitch pieces have the potential to provide information on material use, diet and oral health.

NGI Short read [Service]

NGI Stockholm (Genomics Production) [Service]

NGI Uppsala (SNP&SEQ Technology Platform) [Service]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Service]

PubMed 38238372

DOI 10.1038/s41598-023-48762-6

Crossref 10.1038/s41598-023-48762-6

pii: 10.1038/s41598-023-48762-6

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