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Black Death Bacterium Identified: Genetic Analysis of Medieval Plague Skeletons Shows Presence of Yersinia Pestis Bacteria

A team of German and Canadian scientists has shown that today's plague pathogen has been around at least 600 years.

The Black Death claimed the lives of one-third of Europeans in just five years from 1348 to 1353. Until recently, it was not certain whether the bacterium Yersinia pestis -- known to cause the plague today -- was responsible for that most deadly outbreak of disease ever. Now, the University of Tübingen's Institute of Scientific Archaeology and McMaster University in Canada have been able to confirm that Yersinia pestis was behind the great plague.

The results of the research are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Click "source" for entire article.

"Targeted enrichment of ancient pathogens yielding the pPCP1 plasmid of Yersinia pestis from victims of the Black Death." (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/08/24/1105107108)
 
 

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