Scientists say man shares similarities with modern Italians and others who lived in region during Roman empire

In a study published in Scientific Reports on Thursday, a team led by Gabriele Scorrano, an assistant professor of geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen, extracted DNA from two victims, a man and a woman, whose remains were found in the House of the Craftsman in Pompeii, a domus that was first excavated in 1914, the Guardian reports.

Although the experts sequenced DNA from both victims, they were only able to sequence the entire genome from the man’s remains due to gaps in the sequences obtained from the woman.

Before this study, only short stretches of mitochondrial DNA from human and animal remains found in Pompeii had been sequenced.

The man was aged between 35 and 40 when he was killed in the violent eruption of Vesuvius in AD79. Comparisons of his DNA with genetic codes obtained from 1,030 ancient humans, as well as 471 modern western Eurasian individuals, suggested his DNA shared the most similarities with modern individuals from central Italy and those who lived during the ancient Roman period. Analysis of his mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA also identified groups of genes commonly found in Sardinia, but not among those who lived in Italy during the empire, suggesting there may have been high levels of genetic diversity across the Italian peninsula at that time.

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