Skip to comments.Black death DNA unravelled (Genetic code of 'mother' of deadly bubonic plague reassembled)
Posted on 10/13/2011 1:35:49 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Scientists used the degraded strands to reconstruct the entire genetic code of the deadly bacterium.
It is the first time experts have succeeded in drafting the genome of an ancient pathogen, or disease-causing agent.
The researchers found that a specific strain of the plague bug Yersinia pestis caused the pandemic that killed 100 million Europeans - between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of the total population - in just five years between 1347 and 1351.
They also learned that the strain is the "mother" of all modern bubonic plague bacteria.
"Every outbreak across the globe today stems from a descendant of the medieval plague," said lead scientist Dr Hendrik Poinar, from McMaster University in Canada.
"With a better understanding of the evolution of this deadly pathogen, we are entering a new era of research into infectious disease."
Although rare, bubonic plague continues to kill some 2,000 people around the world each year.
The scientists analysed the skeletal remains of four individuals exhumed from an East Smithfield "plague pit" sited under what is now the Royal Mint in London.
Tiny scraps of Yersinia pestis DNA were obtained from the victims' dental pulp.
From these fragments, the researchers were able to reconstruct virtually the whole of the bug's genetic code, or genome.
The research, published in the journal Nature, shows that few genetic changes have taken place in the bacterium over the past 660 years.
The same techniques could now be used to study the genomes of other ancient pathogens, say experts.
"This will provide us with direct insights into the evolution of human pathogens and historical pandemics," said co-author Dr Johannes Krause, from the University of Tubingen in Germany.
Plague pandemics that pre-dated the Black Death were probably caused by a very different Yersinia strain,
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
So now that they have reassembled this DEADLY Plague. Just what do they intend to do with it. Or will we hear about a Lab accident sometime in the future?
Yeah, isn’t this kind of like pulling the wooden stake OUT of Dracula’s heart?
Let’s put Bill Richardson in charge of it.
They have reassembled the DNA code. They have not created a live organism capable of reproduction and infection.
It’s like having the complete blueprints for a house. Turning them into an actual house is a whole other process.
That’s what they said about Jurassic Park, and look where that got us!
Now where is that darn bacteria sample? I know I had it when I was walking in the airport terminal, but don’t remember it after that. Oh well, it’ll turn up somewhere, I mean what could possibly happen?
They reconstructed the CODE, not the bug itself.
I recall not too long ago seeing that they think they have identified the cause of the plague which swept Athens during the Peloponnesian War.
Despite the fact that Thucydides gave a very detailed description of the symptoms of that plague, it didn’t fit exactly any known disease. BTW, Thucydides would have known what he was talking about as he survived the plague.
OK that’s better.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
i can see this isn’t going to end well
This is a great idea. What could go wrong?
Now, the Occupy Wall Street people are another story...
EWE, talk about vivid discription.
I’m allergic to fleas. So I would never make it in OWS. Plus I like to take baths.
I love references to Thucydides. I love his writings—read them in the Peloponese many years ago. What a beautiful mind.
I read Thucydides when I was in high school in the early 60’s. One thing I still remember was I would read what one side’s herald would say at a gathering of armies, it would seem clear his side was in the right.
Then I would read the other herald’s speech and I would change my mind. Of course since there was no video cameras back then, both speeches would have been filtered through Thucydides mind, still I suspect the general ideas were retained.
America's so-called "journalists" are in no danger of this.