Place of origin of medieval plague revealed
Scientists from the University of Stirling in Scotland and the University of Tübingen in Germany have located the place where the plague began to spread in the Middle Ages. According to the authors of the work published in the journal Nature, the first people contracted this disease in Kyrgyzstan.
It was possible to come to such conclusions about the origin of the disease after analyzing the DNA of teeth from ancient burials. The decision to search in this particular place was made by experts thanks to the records of 1890, which described the cemetery with a large number of those buried in 1338-1339, as well as the images on the tombstones of people who died from the plague.
After examining seven samples of teeth, scientists were able to understand what pathogens died from the medieval inhabitants of this area. Experts conducted DNA sequencing and compared it with a database of existing viruses and bacteria. The analysis confirmed the presence of Yersinia pestis in the body of the dead. In addition, other characteristic damage was found on the remains.
The beginning of the plague pandemic was provoked by the diversification of ancient strains of the disease, which carried fleas mainly on rats. The found variant of Y. pestis turned out to be a precursor of diversification, it was also found in modern rodents in this region. The findings suggest that the virus that killed millions of people in the Middle Ages originated from an ancient burial site in Kyrgyzstan.