Thursday, September 8, 2016

DNA analaysis and what it tells us about the Great Plague of London

For the last 5.5years, scientists have excavated, studied, and conducted DNA analysis on skeletons from a Liverpool burial pit containing 3500 remains. Unlike a later account of the suffering and burial (in heaps), the evidence shows they were individually buried nicely in coffins. Bones were sent for evaluation. Teeth were removed and DNA extracted from 20 skeletons at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. It is now confirmed that the DNA of five people's teeth contained plague or the bacteria Yersinia pestis. The Great Plague in 1665 in London was the last big plague. Scientists still do not know why it was the last sizeable outbreak. They are thinking that the disease may have changed genetically. Scientists are now trying to figure out how it changed and spread. The dead are unidentified except for one surviving partial tombstone. RIP May Godfrey, plague victim, Sept. 2, 1665. Very interesting. Read more about it at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37287715

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