Monday, August 29, 2011

Researchers discover original bacteria of the Black Death

The bacteria responsible for causing the 1348 Black Death, identified as one of the most cataclysmic events in human history, has been identified by researchers from Canada and Germany.

Using a novel method of DNA enrichment coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing, Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist from the McMaster University and Johannes Krause of the University of Tubingen have discovered that the now-extinct version of the Yersinia pestis bacterium initiated the bug that caused 30-50 million European deaths between 1347 and 1351. Never before have researchers understood the exact cause of the plague, which continues to claim some 2,000 deaths a year worldwide.

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