How a 200-year-old mummy can reveal secrets of tuberculosis

23 July 2013

helen donoghue

In 1994, a crypt containing 242 bodies was discovered in Vác, Hungary. Many of the bodies were naturally mummified, including the remains of a woman, Terézia Hausmann, who died apparently from tuberculosis. Because of the natural preservation of these remains, we could extract and type the DNA from the bacterium,Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that had infected her. This has revealed important information about these bacteria that infected people 200 years ago. - writes Helen Donoghue - UCL Department of Biosciences - in The Conversation