Decoding the gene that causes the Black Death

A group of scientists from Britain, Germany and the US has just announced that they have deciphered the genome of the bacterium causing the Black Death, the worst plague in human history.

>>> See the video Decoding the gene that causes the Black Death

Scientists collected and analyzed the DNA of the type of bacteria still clinging to the teeth and bones of the victim who died of plague in ancient times. These corpses were unearthed from a cemetery in London (England).

Picture 1 of Decoding the gene that causes the Black Death
Images illustrating victims of plague in Asia and medieval Europe

The results after DNA reconciliation of the ancient and modern strains showed that medieval strains still exist today. They are thought to cause past plague and some other epidemics of today.

Black death is the term for plague that occurred in medieval Asia and Europe. The epidemic broke out more than 100 times in Europe during this period. Within 5 years (from 1347 to 1351), about 50% of the continental European population (about 50 million people) was killed.

Picture 2 of Decoding the gene that causes the Black Death
Scientists collected Yersinia pestis bacteria from teeth and bones
of the victim in the Black Death epidemic

According to scientists, the " culprit " of Black Death is the strain Yersinia pestis, a rare strain in humans but has tremendous destructive power. However, they have not yet determined exactly where the disease has spread, spreading it around the world. Many theories suggest that bacteria spread by sea, according to merchant boats or by traders from Asia to Europe.

The manifestation of the disease is lymphadenopathy throughout the body. When blood vessels in the lymph nodes break, they turn into black blood clots that interfere with blood flow throughout the body. It was because the blood clots gathered on the victim's body, so it was called that Black Death at that time.

Picture 3 of Decoding the gene that causes the Black Death

The results of this study are published in Nature Science.

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