The Tyrolean Iceman, commonly known as Ötzi, is the world’s oldest glacier mummy and one of the best investigated ancient human remains in the world. Since the discovery of the 5,300-year-old Copper Age individual in 1991, in a glacier in the Eastern Italian Alps, a variety of morphological, biochemical, and molecular analyses have been performed that revealed important insights into his origin, his life habits, and the circumstances surrounding his demise. In more recent research, the mummy was subjected to cutting-edge modern research methodologies currently focusing on high-throughput sequence analysis of ancient biomolecules (DNA, proteins, lipids) that are still preserved in the mummified tissues. This application of innovative “-omics” technologies revealed novel insights on the ancestry, disease predisposition, diet, and the presence of pathogens in the glacier mummy. In this review, the most important and actual results of the molecular studies will be highlighted.

1.
Gaber
O
,
Künzel
KH
.
Man from the Hauslabjoch
.
Exp Gerontol
.
1998
Nov-Dec
;
33
(
7-8
):
655
60
.
[PubMed]
0531-5565
2.
Barfield
L
. Der Zeuge aus dem Gletscher : das Rätsel der frühen Alpen-Europäer. In:
Koller
E
,
Lippert
A
,
Payrleitner
A
, editors
.
Wien
:
Ueberreuter
;
1992
.
3.
Spindler
K
.
Der Mann im eis. Neue sensationelle Erkenntnisse über die Mumie in den Ötztaler Alpen
.
Munich
:
Goldman
;
2000
.
4.
Wick
G
,
Kalischnig
G
,
Maurer
H
,
Mayerl
C
,
Müller
PU
.
Really old-palaeoimmunology: immunohistochemical analysis of extracellular matrix proteins in historic and pre-historic material
.
Exp Gerontol
.
2001
Sep
;
36
(
9
):
1565
79
.
[PubMed]
0531-5565
5.
Nerlich
AG
,
Bachmeier
B
,
Zink
A
,
Thalhammer
S
,
Egarter-Vigl
E
.
Otzi had a wound on his right hand
.
Lancet
.
2003
Jul
;
362
(
9380
):
334
.
[PubMed]
0140-6736
6.
Müller
W
,
Fricke
H
,
Halliday
AN
,
McCulloch
MT
,
Wartho
JA
.
Origin and migration of the Alpine Iceman
.
Science
.
2003
Oct
;
302
(
5646
):
862
6
.
[PubMed]
0036-8075
7.
Murphy
WA
 Jr
,
Nedden Dz
D
,
Gostner
P
,
Knapp
R
,
Recheis
W
,
Seidler
H
.
The iceman: discovery and imaging
.
Radiology
.
2003
Mar
;
226
(
3
):
614
29
.
[PubMed]
0033-8419
8.
Oeggl
K
,
Kofler
W
,
Schmidl
A
,
Dickson
JH
,
Egarter-Vigl
E
,
Gaber
O
.
The reconstruction of the last itinerary of “Ötzi”, the Neolithic Iceman, by pollen analyses from sequentially sampled gut extracts
.
Quat Sci Rev
.
2007
;
26
(
7-8
):
853
61
. 0277-3791
9.
Ermini
L
,
Olivieri
C
,
Rizzi
E
,
Corti
G
,
Bonnal
R
,
Soares
P
, et al
Complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the Tyrolean Iceman
.
Curr Biol
.
2008
Nov
;
18
(
21
):
1687
93
.
[PubMed]
0960-9822
10.
Gostner
P
,
Pernter
P
,
Bonattie
G
,
Graefen
A
,
Zink
AR
.
New radiological insights into the life and death of the Tyrolean Iceman J
.
Arch Sci
.
2011
;
38
(
12
):
3425
31
. 1389-0166
11.
Janko
M
,
Stark
RW
,
Zink
A
.
Preservation of 5300 year old red blood cells in the Iceman
.
J R Soc Interface
.
2012
Oct
;
9
(
75
):
2581
90
.
[PubMed]
1742-5689
12.
Keller
A
,
Graefen
A
,
Ball
M
,
Matzas
M
,
Boisguerin
V
,
Maixner
F
, et al
New insights into the Tyrolean Iceman’s origin and phenotype as inferred by whole-genome sequencing
.
Nat Commun
.
2012
Feb
;
3
(
1
):
698
.
[PubMed]
2041-1723
13.
Dickson
JH
,
Oeggl
K
,
Holden
TG
,
Handley
LL
,
O’Connell
TC
,
Preston
T
.
The omnivorous Tyrolean Iceman: colon contents (meat, cereals, pollen, moss and whipworm) and stable isotope analyses
.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
.
2000
Dec
;
355
(
1404
):
1843
9
.
[PubMed]
0962-8436
14.
Gostner
P
,
Vigl
EE
.
INSIGHT: Report of Radiological-Forensic Findings on the Iceman
.
J Archaeol Sci
.
2002
;
29
(
3
):
323
6
. 0305-4403
15.
Maixner
F
,
Overath
T
,
Linke
D
,
Janko
M
,
Guerriero
G
,
van den Berg
BH
, et al
Paleoproteomic study of the Iceman’s brain tissue
.
Cell Mol Life Sci
.
2013
Oct
;
70
(
19
):
3709
22
.
[PubMed]
1420-682X
16.
Pernter
P
,
Gostner
P
,
Egarter Vigl
E
,
Rühli
FJ
.
Radiologic proof for the Iceman’s cause of death (ca. 5′300 BP)
.
J Archaeol Sci
.
2007
;
34
(
11
):
1784
6
. 0305-4403
17.
Janko
M
,
Zink
A
,
Gigler
AM
,
Heckl
WM
,
Stark
RW
.
Nanostructure and mechanics of mummified type I collagen from the 5300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman
.
Proc Biol Sci
.
2010
Aug
;
277
(
1692
):
2301
9
.
[PubMed]
0962-8452
18.
Itan
Y
,
Powell
A
,
Beaumont
MA
,
Burger
J
,
Thomas
MG
.
The origins of lactase persistence in Europe
.
PLOS Comput Biol
.
2009
Aug
;
5
(
8
):
e1000491
.
[PubMed]
1553-734X
19.
Enattah
NS
,
Sahi
T
,
Savilahti
E
,
Terwilliger
JD
,
Peltonen
L
,
Järvelä
I
.
Identification of a variant associated with adult-type hypolactasia
.
Nat Genet
.
2002
Feb
;
30
(
2
):
233
7
.
[PubMed]
1061-4036
20.
Burger
J
,
Kirchner
M
,
Bramanti
B
,
Haak
W
,
Thomas
MG
.
Absence of the lactase-persistence-associated allele in early Neolithic Europeans
.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
.
2007
Mar
;
104
(
10
):
3736
41
.
[PubMed]
0027-8424
21.
Sikora
M
,
Carpenter
ML
,
Moreno-Estrada
A
,
Henn
BM
,
Underhill
PA
,
Sánchez-Quinto
F
, et al
Population genomic analysis of ancient and modern genomes yields new insights into the genetic ancestry of the Tyrolean Iceman and the genetic structure of Europe
.
PLoS Genet
.
2014
May
;
10
(
5
):
e1004353
.
[PubMed]
1553-7390
22.
Capocasa
M
,
Battaggia
C
,
Anagnostou
P
,
Montinaro
F
,
Boschi
I
,
Ferri
G
, et al
Detecting genetic isolation in human populations: a study of European language minorities
.
PLoS One
.
2013
;
8
(
2
):
e56371
.
[PubMed]
1932-6203
23.
Coia
V
,
Boschi
I
,
Trombetta
F
,
Cavulli
F
,
Montinaro
F
,
Destro-Bisol
G
, et al
Evidence of high genetic variation among linguistically diverse populations on a micro-geographic scale: a case study of the Italian Alps
.
J Hum Genet
.
2012
Apr
;
57
(
4
):
254
60
.
[PubMed]
1434-5161
24.
Pichler
I
,
Mueller
JC
,
Stefanov
SA
,
De Grandi
A
,
Volpato
CB
,
Pinggera
GK
, et al
Genetic structure in contemporary south Tyrolean isolated populations revealed by analysis of Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and Alu polymorphisms
.
Hum Biol
.
2006
Aug
;
78
(
4
):
441
64
.
[PubMed]
0018-7143
25.
Coia
V
,
Cipollini
G
,
Anagnostou
P
,
Maixner
F
,
Battaggia
C
,
Brisighelli
F
, et al
Whole mitochondrial DNA sequencing in Alpine populations and the genetic history of the Neolithic Tyrolean Iceman
.
Sci Rep
.
2016
Jan
;
6
(
1
):
18932
.
[PubMed]
2045-2322
26.
Maixner
F
,
Krause-Kyora
B
,
Turaev
D
,
Herbig
A
,
Hoopmann
MR
,
Hallows
JL
, et al
The 5300-year-old Helicobacter pylori genome of the Iceman
.
Science
.
2016
Jan
;
351
(
6269
):
162
5
.
[PubMed]
0036-8075
27.
Moodley
Y
,
Linz
B
,
Bond
RP
,
Nieuwoudt
M
,
Soodyall
H
,
Schlebusch
CM
, et al
Age of the association between Helicobacter pylori and man
.
PLoS Pathog
.
2012
;
8
(
5
):
e1002693
.
[PubMed]
1553-7366
28.
Maixner
F
,
Turaev
D
,
Cazenave-Gassiot
A
,
Janko
M
,
Krause-Kyora
B
,
Hoopmann
MR
, et al
The Iceman's Last Meal Consisted of Fat, Wild Meat, and Cereals. Current biology : CB.
2018
;28(14):2348-55 e9.
29.
Aspöck
H
,
Auer
H
,
Picher
O
,
Platzer
W
. Parasitological examination of the Iceman. In:
Bortenschlager
S
,
Oeggl
K
, editors
.
The Iceman and his Natural Environment: Palaeobotanical Results
.
Vienna
:
Springer Vienna
;
2000
. pp.
127
36
.
30.
Pöder
R
,
Peintner
U
,
Pümpel
T
.
Mykologische Untersuchungen an den Pilz-Beifunden der Gletschermumie vom Hauslabjoch.
Der Mann im Eis: bericht über das Internationale Symposium 1992 in Innsbruck.
1992
;1:313-20.
31.
Spindler
K
,
Osers
E
. The Man in the Ice: The Preserved Body of a Neolithic Man Reveals the Secrets of the Stone Age: Phoenix;
1995
.
32.
Capasso
L
.
A Preliminary Report on the Tattoos of the Val Senales Mummy (Tyrol, Neolithic)
.
J Paleopathol
.
1993
;
5
:
173
82
.1120-0200
33.
Dorfer
L
,
Moser
M
,
Bahr
F
,
Spindler
K
,
Egarter-Vigl
E
,
Giullén
S
, et al
A medical report from the stone age?
Lancet
.
1999
Sep
;
354
(
9183
):
1023
5
.
[PubMed]
0140-6736
34.
Samadelli
M
,
Melis
M
,
Miccoli
M
,
Vigl
EE
,
Zink
AR
.
Complete mapping of the tattoos of the 5300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman
.
J Cult Herit
.
2015
;
16
(
5
):
753
8
. 1296-2074
35.
Zink
A
,
Samadelli
M
,
Gostner
P
,
Piombino-Mascali
D
.
Possible evidence for care and treatment in the Tyrolean Iceman
.
Int J Paleopathol
.
2018
.
[PubMed]
1879-9817
36.
Tett
A
,
Huang
KD
,
Asnicar
F
,
Fehlner-Peach
H
,
Pasolli
E
,
Karcher
N
, et al
The Prevotella copri complex comprises four distinct clades that are underrepresented in Westernised populations
.
bioRxiv
.
2019
;
•••
:
600593
.
37.
Bello
MG
,
Knight
R
,
Gilbert
JA
,
Blaser
MJ
.
Preserving microbial diversity
.
Science
.
2018
Oct
;
362
(
6410
):
33
4
.
[PubMed]
0036-8075
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.