Plague DNA was just found in 4,000-year-old teeth

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 10:03 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Dental pulp can trap the DNA remnants of infectious diseases. Deposit Photos The persistent pathogen known as the plague was circulating around Europe and Asia centuries before it wiped out about 25 million people. A team of scientists have just recently found 4,000 year-old DNA belonging to Yersinia pestis, or the bacteria that causes the plague. That’s about 3,000 years before the plague before the Black Death began. The findings were detailed in a study published May 30 in the journal Nature Communications and represent the oldest evidence of the plague in Britain found to date.  [Related: Scientists tracked the plague’s journey through Denmark using really old teeth.] The team identified two cases of Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis) from human remains found uncovered in a mass burial site in southwest England near Somerset...

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