The Reconstruction and Analysis of Oral Microbiome Composition Using Dental Calculus from the Mississippi State Asylum (1855-1935), Jackson, Ms
Belanich, Jonathan Robert
AdvisorZuckerman, Molly K.
CommitteeMiller, D. Shane
The human oral microbiome is the total amount of microbial biodiversity present in the oral cavity and, given its relevance to human health and disease, has recently become a foci for study. By analyzing dental calculus, and sequencing the bacterial DNA, it is possible to reconstruct and examine the oral microbiomes of past individuals. In this study, dental calculus was sampled from (N=4) skeletons recovered from the cemetery of the mid 19th- 20th, century Mississippi State Asylum in Jackson, MS. Bacterial DNA isolation and shotgun sequencing were successful, with 16S analyses yielding an average of 96 identified species. All samples were significantly different from each other at all taxonomic levels (p <0.0001). Targeted examinations for opportunistically pathogenic oral bacteria were performed, but no detectable bacterial DNA was found in the samples. This study is the first to reconstruct the oral microbiomes of a subsample of an historic institutionalized population.