Little is still known about the microbiome resulting from the process of mummification of the human gut. In the present study, the gut microbiota, genes associated with metabolism, and putative resistome of Inca and Italian nobility mummies were characterized by using high-throughput sequencing. The Italian nobility mummies exhibited a higher bacterial diversity as compared to the Inca mummies when using 16S ribosomal (rRNA) gene amplicon sequencing, but both groups showed bacterial and fungal taxa when using shotgun metagenomic sequencing that may resemble both the thanatomicrobiome and extant human gut microbiomes. Identification of sequences associated with plants, animals, and carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) may provide further insights into the dietary habits of Inca and Italian nobility mummies. Putative antibiotic-resistance genes in the Inca and Italian nobility mummies support a human gut resistome prior to the antibiotic therapy era. The higher proportion of putative antibiotic-resistance genes in the Inca compared to Italian nobility mummies may support the hypotheses that a greater exposure to the environment may result in a greater acquisition of antibiotic-resistance genes. The present study adds knowledge of the microbiome resulting from the process of mummification of the human gut, insights of ancient dietary habits, and the preserved putative human gut resistome prior the antibiotic therapy era.
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