Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Immune system response in a 500 year old mummy!

The overall story here is really sad from the human perspective (spending some time trying to find just the right Scooby Doo gif helped lighten my mood), but the science in this 5 year old paper highlights capabilities we have that we might never think of.

The article is short so I won't go into it too much, but you know how hard it is to get an extra FFPE slice out of your collaborator? Imagine the material limitations that you have when you are getting it from a museum with some National Geographic people watching your every move. The fact that this Orbitrap XL could identify any peptides -- let alone make observations on the immune system response(!!) of material this old and limited and precious is really amazing.

The authors spend a lot of time on the normalization maths. Of course, we always want a control and some biological replicates before you try any sort of quan -- but this is one of the rare cases where I'll cut the team a break. Fancy math on the mass spec data and PCR to back it up leads the team to some really interesting conclusions on what might have happened to a couple of kids 500 years ago!

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