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Yersinia pestis and the Black Death

“BLACK Death rampaged across Europe in 1348, killing a third of the population. Now the complete sequence of Yersinia pestis, the most likely cause of the Black Death, has been unearthed from a medieval mass grave in London.

‘This is the first time a human pathogen more than a century old has ever been fully sequenced,’ says Johannes Krause at the University of Tübingen, Germany. The teams used DNA from modern Yersinia in an array that bound to similar DNA in victims’ teeth. That DNA carried telltale chemical changes showing it was indeed ancient plague. Differences reported earlier between it and modern Yersinia were not confirmed.”


(Image: Museum of London Archaeology excavated remains of Black Death victims)

Read the full article at NewScientist.com.
Related article at Discover Magazine.

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