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Ötzi, the Ancient Iceman, has 19 Relatives Living in Austria

Oct 15, 2013 08:58 AM EDT

Researchers have found that there are at least 19 Austrian men that are genetically related to Otzi the Iceman- the 5,300-year-old frozen body.

Ötzi has been the center of countless studies since its discovery in the year 1991. Researchers have tried to piece together his diet, the diseases that he suffered from, and how he died through extensive genetic studies.

Scientists have found that the ancient iceman has relatives in Austria who share his genetic material, The Austrian Press Agency reported last week.

"These men and the 'Iceman' had the same ancestors," Walther Parson, a researcher at the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Innsbruck, told the Austrian Press Agency. The men, however, haven't been told about their relation with Otzi.

The study team also used data from the current research to understand the migration route of ancient people.

The Haplogroups                                                                                         

Information present in the Y chromosome and mitochondria passes unchanged through generations. Any changes in this information can only occur via mutation and gets passed on to the successors.

 "That's why we humans can be summarized with the same mutations in so-called haplogroups," Parson told APA.

Haplogroups aren't used to study immediate family linkages, but to study deep ancestry.

For the study, researchers sifted through DNA records of over 3,700 Austrian blood donors to find men with a rare Y-chromosome mutation known as G-L91, which researchers believe could be present in Otzi's relatives. Of course, the 19 men that they found aren't the only people sharing the rare mutation. Researchers have extended their study to get data from people living in nearby regions of Swiss and Italian Alps to find genetic matches, nbcnews reported.

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