Plague bug not so fierce after all | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Plague bug not so fierce after all

DNA analysis shows bacterium was fairly ordinary but thrived in pestilent conditions of medieval Europe

10:45am, October 14, 2011

Using methods that seem inspired by Frankenstein and Jurassic Park, scientists have reconstructed the entire DNA sequence of the ancient microbe responsible for the Black Death, the plague that killed half of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1351.

Using bits of the bacterium Yersinia pestis plucked from the teeth of four well-preserved skeletons of plague victims excavated from London’s East Smithfield cemetery in the 1980s, an international team of researchers found that the medieval microbe has nearly the same genetic code as modern s

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content