The first complete map of the DNA of Oetzi

Iceman 'was lactose intolerant'

Prehistoric man 'shared ancestor with Sardinians, Corsicans'

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Italy's famed prehistoric hunter known as the Iceman was lactose intolerant, according to newly completed DNA mapping.

New reconstruction of Oetzi

The 5,000-year-old man's inability to digest lactose, a sugar in milk, was combined with a predisposition towards heart disease, a finding corroborated by the thickened arteries in the body dug out of a northern Italian glacier in 1991.

The first complete map of the DNA of Oetzi, as the mummy is also known, was published in the Nature Communications journal Tuesday.

The mapping said Oetzi also probably suffered from Lyme Disease, a tick-borne infection whose symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a characteristic circular skin rash.

According to an international team led by Albert Zink of the European Academy in Bolzano, the northern Italian city where the Iceman attracts thousands of visitors a year, the rugged mountain man also shared a common ancestor with the inhabitants of today's Sardinia and Corsica.

He had brown eyes and his blood group was O, Zink and his colleagues said.

One of the authors of the study, Timothy Harkins of Life Technologies, noted that "very old samples of DNA are often degraded and produce very short fragments.

"The challenge is to give meaning to the reading of these brief sequences, to try to understand what such an ancient genome can tell us".