Black Death Harvested From 12th Century Skeletons

Posted on October 18, 2011

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The genetic code of the germ that caused the Black Death has been reconstructed by scientists for the first time.

The BBC reports that researchers extracted DNA fragments of the ancient bacterium from the teeth of medieval corpses found in London. They say the pathogen is the ancestor of all modern plagues.

Acknowledged as the most deadly plague humans have ever encountered, between 1347 and 1351 the Black Death (an infection carried by fleas) spread rapidly across Europe, killing around 50 million people.

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