This perspective draws on the record of ancient pathogen genomes and microbiomes illuminating patterns of infectious disease over the course of the Holocene in order to address the following question. How did major changes in living circumstances involving the transition to and intensification of farming alter pathogens and their distributions? Answers to this question via ancient DNA research provide a rapidly expanding picture of pathogen evolution and in concert with archaeological and historical data, give a temporal and behavioral context for heath in the past that is relevant for challenges facing the world today, including the rise of novel pathogens.
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Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 120, Issue 4, 2023, pages e2209476119-.
© 2023 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Lewis, C. M., Akinyi, M. Y., DeWitte, S. N., & Stone, A. C. (2023). Ancient pathogens provide a window into health and well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(4). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2209476119