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An ancient strain of plague may have led to the decline of Neolithic Europeans


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Sciencerocks

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An ancient strain of plague may have led to the decline of Neolithic Europeans
December 6, 2018, Cell Press
 

A team of researchers from France, Sweden, and Denmark have identified a new strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, in DNA extracted from 5,000-year-old human remains. Their analyses, publishing December 6 in the journal Cell, suggest that this strain is the closest ever identified to the genetic origin of plague. Their work also suggests that plague may have been spread among Neolithic European settlements by traders, contributing to the settlements' decline at the dawn of the Bronze Age.

"Plague is maybe one of the deadliest bacteria that has ever existed for humans. And if you think of the word 'plague,' it can mean this infection by Y. pestis, but because of the trauma plague has caused in our history, it's also come to refer more generally to any epidemic. The kind of analyses we do here let us go back through time and look at how this pathogen that's had such a huge effect on us evolved," says senior author Simon Rasmussen, a metagenomics researcher at the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Copenhagen.

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...lithic.html#jCp






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