Scientists decode Black Death's genome

Date:2011-10-13litingting  Text Size:


BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Scientists have decoded the genome of Black Death which caused one of the worst plagues in human history.

The finding was published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

A team of German, Canadian and American scientists collected the bacteria's DNA from ancient plague victims' teeth and bones, which were excavated from the burial ground in London.

With a careful NDA comparison between the ancient bacteria and the modern strains, scientists found the direct variant of the medieval bacteria still exist today.

Black Death's descendants kill around 2,000 people a year, mostly in the developing world, the scientist said.

"This will provide us with direct insights into the evolution of human pathogens and historical pandemics," said Johannes Krause Of Germany's University of Tubingen, who worked on the study.

Black Death, the fatal plague of medieval Europe, wiped out some 30 million people -- about 50 percent of the population on the continent, within just five years, between 1347 and 1351.

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