Has Black Death Tweaked European Genes?

Rahini | 21 - 02 - 2020
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Studies show that the Black Death pandemic has altered European genes.

What Caused the Plague in Europe?

This happened in the 14th century in Europe from 1346-1363. Black Death pandemic vanquished thousands of people killing up to 60% of the entire European population. The bacterium responsible for Black Death is Yersinia Pestis. It caused infectious fever and is believed to have been transmitted from the rodents by the bite of infected. The pathogen was highly virulent and was responsible for the repeated occurrence of plague in Europe for several centuries.

Before Black Death, the very first pandemic hit Europe from 6 to 9 centuries A.D. The second pandemic Black Death was catastrophic and claimed many lives and even extended its attack to the Middle East and Russia.

1. Which Bacteria Caused Black Death?
  • A. Clostridium
  • B. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  • C. Yersinia Pestis
  • D. Clostridium Botulinum

During the disastrous period, many discoveries and developments happened in the medical field as a result of research to control the infection and treat the affected people.  Studies and discoveries were about blood and blood circulation. Major research was done through the dissection of human bodies for better understanding and to find a way to control and treat the plague.

Black Death Genetics

Black death not only has paved a way for a better understanding of infections but also a recent study found out that the disastrous pandemic which wiped out millions of people seems to have altered the descendants’ DNA of the survivors in Europe.

The study further reveals that the genetic codes of Europeans and Roma (nomadic people from northwest India who were living in Europe during the plague) show common immune receptors in their genes.  Scientists say that it is due to the evolution of the human body.

Studies were held on people belonging to two distinct ethnic groups in Europe as well as in other countries and the results add more credibility to the claim.

The research showed the evolution of 20 genes in the European and Roma people who were the descendants’ survivors. Scientists studied the genes of Roma form different geographical locations apart from Europe.  But none of them had the immune receptors that evolved in the genes of Roma in Europe. This is concrete evidence that Black Death likely altered European genes.

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