Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Ulster's ancient mass burial ground gives illness clues

The remains of hundreds of people who lived in medieval times are providing scientists with vital information on the origins of such diseases as Cystic Fibrosis and Tuberculosis.

Researchers at Queens University, Belfast and the Institute of Technology, Sligo, have been collaborating with the University of Wisconsin, USA, in analysing DNA and 'sexing' human remains discovered in a mass burial ground at Ballyhannan near Ballyshannon, Donegal.

Work on determining the incidence of cystic fibrosis among the ancient population from DNA analysis of teeth removed from adult remains is at an advanced stage.

When completed, scientists will be able to compare it with the incidence in Ireland today.

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