Publicerad den 28 jan 2014Scientists may have taken a page out of the movie "28 Days Later" when studying the Justinian Plague. Researchers looked at the DNA found in the teeth of two Germans who died 1,500 years ago of the Justinian Plague, and used the DNA scrapings to recreate the bacteria. They found that the bacteria caused both the Justinian Plague and the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. RT's Ameera David takes a look at the deadly impact if the plague were to become airborne.
Ancient Plague's DNA Revived From A 1,500-Year-Old Tooth***
Scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of a strain of bacteria that caused one of the most deadly pandemics in history nearly 1,500 years ago.
They did it by finding the skeletons of people killed by the plague and extracting DNA from traces of blood inside their teeth.
This plague struck in the year 541, under the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, so it's usually called the . The emperor actually got sick himself but recovered. He was one of the lucky ones. [...]
The Black Death: Plague that killed millions is able to rise from the dead
The Justinian Plague of the 6th Century AD, which is credited with leading to the final demise of the Roman Empire, and the Black Death of the 14th Century, were both caused by the independent emergence of the plague bacterium from its natural host species, the black rat, scientists said.
An analysis of bacterial DNA extracted from the teeth of two plague victims who died in the early 6th Century in present-day Bavaria, Germany, has shown that they were infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis, the same plague agent known to have caused the Black Death 800 years later.
However, a detailed comparison of the bacteria’s DNA sequences has revealed that the two outbreaks were quite independent of one another. Each pandemic was the result of different Yersinia strains, indicating the independent emergence from the black rat on two separate occasions, the researchers said.
Although the strain behind the Justinian Plague died out completely, the strain that caused the Black Death probably re-emerged a few centuries later to cause the so-called Third Plague pandemic which began in the mid-19th Century in China and went on to kill about 12 million people in China and India alone, although it did not travel to Europe.
- The scientists behind the study, published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, warned that the findings suggest there is a possibility of another pandemic strain of plague to emerge from the existing reservoir of Yersinia bacteria living in the current rodent population.[...]***
Forskare har lyckats återskapa bakterier som orsakade världshistoriens värsta pandemier