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Black Death bacterium genetically mapped

Scientists have genetically mapped the bacterium responsible for the Black Death.

Mapping Black Death marks the first time an ancient pathogen has been reconstructed in its entirety and will allow researchers to track changes in its evolution and virulence over time.

The study, published in the science journal Nature, sheds light on how epidemics develop and suggests a killer pandemic will not be caused by a deadly pathogen alone, but by a “perfect storm” of circumstances, said Hendrik Poinar, one of the lead researchers, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

He said the findings mark a new era of research into infectious diseases.

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Story: Jordan Press, Postmedia News and Agence France-Presse | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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