Skip to comments.Oldest Bubonic Plague Genome Decoded
Posted on 06/11/2018 5:14:12 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
The strain identified by the researchers was recovered from individuals in a double burial in the Samara region of Russia, who both had the same strain of the bacterium at death... this strain is the oldest sequenced to date that contains the virulence factors considered characteristic of the bubonic plague, and is ancestral to the strains that caused the Justinian Plague, the Black Death and the 19th century plague epidemics in China... caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis... The disease continues to affect populations around the world today. Despite its historical and modern significance, the origin and age of the disease are not well understood. In particular, exactly when and where Y. pestis acquired the virulence profile that allows it to colonize and transmit through the flea vector has been unclear. Recent studies of ancient Y. pestis genomes identified its earliest known variants, dating to the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, but these genomes did not show the genetic signatures thought to make the plague particularly efficient - namely, adaptation to survival in fleas, which act as the main vectors that transmit the disease to mammals. This study aimed to look at more Bronze Age Y. pestis genomes, in order to investigate when and where these important adaptations occurred. In the study, the researchers analyzed nine individuals from tombs at a site in Russia. Two of the individuals were determined to have been infected with Y. pestis at the time of their deaths. The two were buried together in a single grave and were dated to approximately 3,800 years old. Analysis of the human DNA showed that the individuals were likely from the Samara-region Srubnaya-culture, which matches with the archaeological evidence.
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
Double burial of the two plague victims in the Samara region, Russia. [Credit: V.V. Kondrashin and V.A. Tsybin; Spyrou et al. 2018. Analysis of 3,800-year-old Yersinia pestis genomes suggests Bronze Age origin for bubonic plague. Nature Communications] Geographic location of the burial in the Samara region, Russia, marked by the green triangle. [Credit: Map produced by vectormaps.de. Spyrou et al. 2018. Analysis of 3,800-year-old Yersinia pestis genomes suggests Bronze Age origin for bubonic plague. Nature Communications]
I am always slightly scared of this type of research ... what if they reawaken a plague?
No problem. Agenda 21 will met its goal a little sooner than planned is all...
I remember that scientists found flu virus from the 1918 epidemic still alive in Eskimo graves in the Arctic. I I often wonder if some old disease will reappear this way.
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